The distancing from all things Joe Paterno post-Freeh report has officially begun.
Just a few hours after the entire investigation into Penn State’s actions concerning former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky came to light, Nike has decided to remove Paterno’s name from the child development center on its campus in Beaverton, Oregon.
“I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State,” said Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker, a Penn State graduate, in a statement. “It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes. With the findings released today, I have decided to change the name of our child care center at our World Headquarters. My thoughts are with the victims and the Penn State community.”
At Paterno’s memorial in January, Nike CEO Phil Knight (pictured) came to the long-time coach’s defense in handling the Sandusky situation.
“There is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation. Not in Joe Paterno’s response,” Knight said. “Who is the real trustee at Penn State University?”
Today, his statement was a bit more modest:
Other than my parents, my college coach, Bill Bowerman, was the biggest influence in my life. Bill Bowerman and Joe Paterno shared some great qualities. Throughout Joe Paterno’s career, he strived to put young athletes in a position to succeed and win in sport but most importantly in life. Joe influenced thousands of young men to become better leaders, fathers and husbands.
According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains.
(Hat tip: the Oregonian)