Harris Effort Not About Football Legacy


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by Bradley Mitchell

Franco Harris’s efforts to get to the truth are not about restoring a football legacy. It’s about correcting a huge public misperception about the Penn State culture and Joe Paterno.The real culture of Penn State is one of academic and athletic excellence with integrity and character — a uniting culture of genuine pride and worthy reverence for alumni, students, faculty and staff.Ironically, the man who consistently, tirelessly and relentlessly led the efforts to build this differentiating culture for 61 years was a football coach.How many universities have a libraries named after football coaches and athletic arenas named after former university presidents?Penn Staters are excited about our culture because Penn State does it differently — does it the right way, with legitimate student athletes, students who are here for an education and happen to play sports.In response to editor Chip Minemyer’s cheap shot (“Franco Harris should use voice to support PSU beyond football,” CDT, Sunday), it wasn’t that Harris was afraid to take a hit; he knew when and how to take a hit. Running out of bounds and perhaps avoiding injury in favor of a longer and more productive life with no diminution in his football performance, Harris underscores my point: The Penn State culture produces smart people with character, and some of them, like Harris, happen to be great athletesHarris obviously believes courageous leadership in the face of public criticism is a hit worth taking in our quest for the truth and setting the record straight. I do, too.

 

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