Nike co-founder Phil Knight is reversing his opinion on the Freeh report findings and Joe Paterno. Knight said in a statement Monday morning that after reviewing the findings by the law firm hired by the Paterno family.
“With the release of the report by the King and Spalding law firm, including analysis by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former FBI profiler James Clemente, it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated,” said Knight in a statement Monday. “When this tragic story first unfolded Joe cautioned all of us to slow down and carefully gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. We owed it to the victims, he said, to get to the truth. It was counsel we all should have followed.”
Back in July, Knight responded to the Freeh report by saying Joe Paterno “made missteps” that disappointed him:
“According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences,” Knight said. “I missed that Joe missed it, and I’m extremely saddened on this day.”
However, on Monday morning Knight admitted he made those comments without reading the Freeh report in its entirety. The King and Spalding law firm and former attorney general Dick Thornburgh cited the Freeh report as a “failure,” filled with errors, disputed allegations, personal opinions, unsubstantiated theories and bias.
Since reading the Freeh report and the findings from the law firm, Knight has retracted his original judgment against Paterno. Knight concluded his statement by putting the Paterno side of the scandal into perspective.
And while some may still debate the who, what, when, where, why of this sad case, the clear villain, as Jim Clemente notes, is Jerry Sandusky himself.