By John Zieger, www.FramingPaterno.com
Franco asked Emmert how he could find Joe Paterno “guilty” for covering up the 1998 and 2001 instances when Jerry Sandusky himself had been found “not guilty” for the same episodes (in 1998 an investigation brought no charges and Sandusky was acquitted at trial for the Mike McQueary ”rape” allegation). Emmert’s ensuing response, or, more accurately, non-response, spoke volumes about the credibility of the NCAA sanctions.
Emmert made some extraordinary statements.
He greatly diminished his own role in the sanctions (which he physically signed). He seemed to indicate that thought that the Freeh Report had somehow “read” 3.5 million documents and that Freeh had far more “authority” than he really did (Freeh didn’t even speak to any of the five people closest to the case). He even seemed to be under the delusion that Franco Harris, who famously played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, may have been on the 1998 Penn State team which was the first to, illogically, have its wins stripped.
If “no one” at Penn State was found “guilty,” then why was the school punished so severely? If Paterno was not specifically referenced, or didn’t have his record taken away, why does page 5 in the “punitive” section of the NCAA consent decree, clearly state, “the career record of Coach Joe Paterno will reflect the vacated records”? The president of NCAA, who literally signed off on the worst sanctions in college football history against Penn State, didn’t even have a firm grasp on the basic facts of the case. Of all the many indignities that Joe Paterno has suffered in the year since his last birthday on earth, in some ways nothing has been worse than being convicted by people who didn’t even give him basic due process or the simple respect to have all the facts (or, in Emmert’s case, even have the courage to admit he had indeed been found “guilty”)?