The latest blow in the horror show that is the Sandusky scandal confirms what many of us suspected: An investigation has found that Joe Paterno really did stage a 14-year cover-up of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky. As the report's author, former FBI investigator Louis Freed, stated yesterday, "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect children whom Sandusky victimized."
Failing to protect children -- is it any wonder that Nike is dropping Joe Paterno's name from a child care building on their corporate campus? Nike announced their decision just hours after the investigation was released. Of course, Joe is no longer alive to defend himself and his legacy. It's heartbreaking that his legacy is so damaged. But then, it's also heartbreaking that he let so many boys suffer for years.
Nike President Mark Parker announced the name change and tied it directly to the results of the investigation. Nike co-founder Phil Knight had defended Paterno in the past. But today he admitted, "It appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences."
It seems like such a harsh decision considering Paterno is dead. Can't we let him rest in peace and be grateful for the good he did? But I think Nike was right to remove his name. Employees will not want to take their children to a center named after a man who failed to protect other children.
Up until his last days Paterno was defending himself -- and showing that he still didn't get how serious his actions were. Paterno may not have wanted to face the reality of the harm he was causing. But now it's plain for all of us to see. And whether or not his name stays on a child care center, his legacy will always carry that shame.
Do you think Nike was right to take Joe Paterno's name off of their child care center?
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