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Phil Knight issues statement on Freeh critique

Phil Knight AP

Yesterday, the Paterno family released a critique of the Freeh report, which was published last summer as an investigation into Penn State’s actions regarding allegations of child-sex abuse at the hands of longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The rebuttal attempted to do two things: rebuild Joe Paterno‘s reputation to a pre-Sandusky level, and pick apart the Freeh report’s methodology — the latter of which it did with some degree of success.

On Monday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight released a statement (via) about the rebuttal. Just as we did with Louis Freeh’s response, here is Knight’s statement in its entirety:

Last July I was surprised and saddened by the Freeh Report and the subsequent press conference held by the former FBI Director. In response to the shocking findings, which were so definitively and passionately presented, and based on the reputation of Louis Freeh, I issued a statement which said in part, “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.”

I made this statement without having read the report in full. When I later took the time to do so, I was surprised to learn that the alarming allegations, which so disturbed the nation, were essentially theories and assertions rather than solid charges backed by solid evidence. On reflection I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment.

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. 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. Additionally, The NCAA’s actions are exposed as totally unwarranted. The NCAA acted outside its charter and rendered judgment absent any kind of investigation or judicial hearing. It was simply grandstanding.

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.

Knight spoke at Paterno’s funeral last year, coming to Paterno’s defense over how the longtime Nittany Lions coach handled the Sandusky situation. Upon the release of the Freeh report later that year, Knight backed off his comments.

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35 Responses to “Phil Knight issues statement on Freeh critique”
  1. rickrock6661982 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:14 PM

    If the Paternos were as determined to protect children as they have protected their father, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Reap what you sow.

  2. ironman721 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:28 PM

    It’s got to be shoes. So be like Mike and Just Do It! …. Who cares what Nike says?

  3. mhalt99 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:32 PM

    so the guy that built an empire employing 8 year olds overseas to sew sneakers has your back,….in a child molestation case…………..

  4. effjohntaylornorelation says: Feb 11, 2013 12:40 PM

    Maybe you shouldn’t have issued either statement.

  5. smokingto says: Feb 11, 2013 1:14 PM

    It just proves that you morons don’t want the truth. I can pretty much tell you that the victims don’t blame Joe Paterno. They blame Sandusky!

  6. takingbovadasmoney says: Feb 11, 2013 1:53 PM

    In other words, since the NCAA is gonna hammer Oregon, the program Knight pays for, he no longer agrees with the NCAA. Wonder if he changes the name of the Nike children’s center back to The Paterno Center?

  7. houndofthebaskervols says: Feb 11, 2013 1:53 PM

    “…it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated.”

    Yes it was Phil, now just try convincing all the morons who jumped on the Paterno is a Scumbag train.

  8. cometkazie says: Feb 11, 2013 2:12 PM

    Let the bloviating begin!

  9. mogogo1 says: Feb 11, 2013 2:12 PM

    And the entire situation magically resolves itself now that the immortal Phil Knight has weighed in for a second time.

  10. guinsrule says: Feb 11, 2013 2:43 PM

    This is all too late. It’s like closing the barn doors after everyone’s already left the showers…

  11. franktherat96 says: Feb 11, 2013 2:48 PM

    Inspired by the Paterno family denials al qaeda has released their own report on how they weren’t responsible for 9/11.

  12. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Feb 11, 2013 3:50 PM

    Denial + Blame + Not accepting responsibility = Joe Pa’s LEGACY.

  13. thefightinfloyds says: Feb 11, 2013 4:02 PM

    Phil Knight?!?…So now were getting the uninformed opinions of clothing manufacturers about this case…What does Calvin Klein have to say about this?

  14. seamus0317 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:37 PM

    It is understandable that the Paternoster want to clear JoPa’s name. But after watching Jay on Mike & Mike and first take, they just don’t get it! Yes Sandusky is the villain but McQuery and JoPa did nothing to stop this except “what they were required to by law.”

    Sorry Jay – not good enough! Your Dad and McQuery both failed decent human being 101!

  15. tampabayirish says: Feb 11, 2013 6:34 PM

    Agreed, who cares what Phil Knight and the Nike empire have to say.

  16. acieu says: Feb 11, 2013 6:37 PM

    Another pedophile enabler

  17. dkhhuey says: Feb 11, 2013 7:44 PM

    Let’s see – Joe Paterno knew his coach was anally raping children and did nothing and would have continued to do nothing had it not hit the news.

    Phil Knight knew his company was exploiting and abusing children on every single level and did nothing and would have continued to do nothing had it not hit the news.

    Huh, who would have thought they would be friends!!!

  18. toadthechoad says: Feb 11, 2013 8:05 PM

    Such ignorance in most of these posts. Why don’t you read both reports before you you even comment. I’m sure none of you have read either. But since the media has never been wrong before you better just take their word as gold. Some of you people truly are idiots.

  19. pdcooper08 says: Feb 11, 2013 8:38 PM

    Great post toad, I agree

  20. xli2006 says: Feb 11, 2013 9:55 PM

    “Gee lets talk about Sandusky & Penn State some more,” said no one ever.

  21. tiger7575 says: Feb 11, 2013 9:55 PM

    Dear Toad, Adult male A sees adult male B naked and alone with young boy in shower and hears unusual sounds. Adult male A tells adult male C. Adult male C is the most powerful Adult in his entire city. Nothing is done to Adult male B, in fact despite earlier suspicions, Adult male B is continued unfettered access to facilities and Adult male B continues to abuse helpless boys, while Adult male C takes the bold and courageous action of….drum roll….meets with his boss. One definition of Pimp is a despicable person. Hence, Adult male C aka JoePa is a PIMP.

  22. 11thstreetmafia says: Feb 11, 2013 10:11 PM

    Paternos, go away. Penn State’s or Paterno’s reputation will never be what it was. Never. Next!

  23. richa52 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:50 PM

    “Gee lets talk about Sandusky & Penn State some more,” said no one ever.

    Said the guy who makes a post on a Sandusky & Penn State story.

  24. bostonbias says: Feb 11, 2013 11:50 PM

    Amazing that people who refuse to read any of the documents still use name calling rather than the logical conclusion that Joe Paterno is mostly likely did not know anything at all. As did no one, as child abusers are great liars..and everyone is shocked,

    But the sheep here just need to blame the someone, so they get on their moral high horse while ignoring any facts.

  25. vegasdestroyer says: Feb 12, 2013 7:20 AM

    After reading the Freeh Report, one can understand why the FBI under Freeh’s leadership was considered “Famous But INCOMPETENT.”

  26. amosalanzostagg says: Feb 12, 2013 9:13 AM

    toadthechoad wrote on: Feb 11, 2013 8:05 PM

    Such ignorance in most of these posts. Why don’t you read both reports before you you even comment. I’m sure none of you have read either. But since the media has never been wrong before you better just take their word as gold. Some of you people truly are idiots.


    Toad, I did read both reports.

    Penn State University through the President of the University AND the BoT’s, commissioned Freeh to investigate and report on the Sandusky fiasco. He did.

    Penn State then submitted the report, warts and all, to the NCAA for their consideration before penalties and sanctions were applied. The NCAA could have said “Nope, We’ll conduct our own investigation into the Lack of Institutional Control and subsequent coverup.” The NCAA listened to Penn State officials
    and both parties agreed to accept the findings of the Freeh Report.

    Why do you believe Penn State officials ready, willing and able to sign off on the penalties and sanctions so fast? Could it be concern that Penn State fears what a
    full bore NCAA investigation over a protracted basis would actually do to the University? It’s not what is known and reported, it’s the unknown that remains
    hidden that scares the crap out of Administrators.

    The Penn State President and BoT’s accepted the penalties and sanctions.

    Now the Paternos, who have no legal standing in the Penn State case, hire there own hired gun to refute the Freeh Report. Surprise,surprise,surprise! They find
    fault over their dead dad’s tarnished reputation.

    The lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank, and the Paterno’s are making asses
    out of themselves in saying what they think they know instead of what is actual fact.
    The only person who could do that is dead, dead, dead….. and nothing they say or do can change what has happened.

  27. thetooloftools says: Feb 12, 2013 10:08 AM

    Joe Paterno said “it will all come out” and then took the truth to his grave. He was a coward. Nothing but a coward because the truth was being sought out by Freeh and he refused to talk to them. He refused to defend himself even when he was dying. He was just protesting his family from lawsuits on his $.
    This old Buzzard was just fake.

  28. amosalanzostagg says: Feb 12, 2013 11:07 AM

    I find it rich with irony that the Coach that ripped Nixon over Watergate suffered the same fate.

    Background info. In 1969, Texas played Arkansas in the National Championship game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nixon attended the game. After Texas won,
    Nixon declared Texas National Champions.

    Years later, at the height of the Watergate scandal, Paterno gave and address in which he stated “How could a man who knew so much about college football say he didn’t know what was happening in Watergate?” Paterno had a beef because Penn State was a very good team at the time.


    I wonder how Paterno would answer the question “How could a man know so much about college football and not know what was happening in his own Program?”

    Karma come back every time

  29. amosalanzostagg says: Feb 12, 2013 11:11 AM

    The heat has faded on Knight and now he wants his business to go on as usual. Knight won’t be renaming
    the center for Paterno, Paterno is toxic for his business.

  30. swu32733 says: Feb 12, 2013 11:50 AM

    The owner of college football has spoken!

  31. toadthechoad says: Feb 12, 2013 11:51 AM

    You couldn’t be farther off. Their hand was forced into accepting the freeh findings. Erickson signed off not the BoT. Get your facts straight. Erickson is spineless. A lot of freehs findings came down to his personal opinion and speculation. Very few facts. Obviously you didn’t read the freeh report. Tell me how they possibly could have thoroughly reviewed millions of documents in a few months. Get real

  32. DelawarePhilliesFan says: Feb 12, 2013 1:23 PM

    So….he says he didn’t read the Freeh report, just accepted it at face value. Uhhhhh….did any one else notice he does not actually say he read the Paterno’s report?

  33. vegasdestroyer says: Feb 12, 2013 2:23 PM

    The FBI and ex-FBI have a bad habit of trying the accused or better the deceased in the court of public opinion. Judge Freeh’s “case” would have been shot down by a good or an average defense attorney.

  34. onceuponatimeinsports says: Feb 12, 2013 3:50 PM

    The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania conducted their own investigation into the Sandusky/Penn St. molestation case and indicted 3 of the 4 people Freeh said were involved in a conspiracy. They did not use the Freeh report to do so but rather relied on their own investigation yet miraculously reached the very same conclusions.

    Amazing, isn’t it?

    And the only reason they did not indict Paterno was because he had already died.

  35. toadthechoad says: Feb 12, 2013 5:15 PM


    An investigation of their own? Really? Please show me where you read this. Just because people are guilty in the court of public opinion doesn’t mean they are guilty. I’m not blind to the fact that there was wrong doing here. Spanier and Curley are right there in the middle but for you to say what you are saying is ludacris. You don’t know the whole story and neither do I. But one thing is clear, Joe Paterno is not the person to blame for all of this, as you seem to be referring to if he were still alive he would have had charges brought on him. Get a clue.

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