Penn State Scandal: Franco Harris Unjustly Tackled for Loyalty to Joe Paterno

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2011

Retired Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris watches the action versus the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field, September 7, 2006. The Steelers won 28-17.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Joe Paterno is no longer the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team.

Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris wasn't pleased with his alma mater's decision to part ways with the legendary coach, and he has been fired by a casino of all things because of his loyalty.

Harris, who played at Penn State from 1969-1971, was one of the best football players to ever play under Joe Paterno.

The Meadows Racetrack & Casino fired Harris, who was hired along with former Steelers teammate Rocky Bleier to "assist the entertainment facility with various outreach activities, charitable events and public appearances," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Harris was quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after Paterno's firing saying:

I feel that the board made a bad decision in letting Joe Paterno go. I'm very disappointed in their decision. I thought they showed no courage, not to back someone who really needed it at the time. They were saying the football program under Joe was at fault. They really wouldn't give a reason. They're linking the football program to the scandal and, possibly, the cover up. That's very disturbing to me.

His former employee acted quickly, releasing this statement:

In light of the recent developments with Franco Harris regarding Joe Paterno’s dismissal, Franco and The Meadows have mutually decided to put their business relationship on hold at this time, while these matters are looked into further.

The Meadows can sugarcoat it any way it wants, but Harris was fired for speaking on behalf of his former coach.

The former Nittany Lion and Steelers great is just another to unjustly fall in the ugly Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. Heck, he was working for a casino, not a children's program or something of that nature. The Meadows needs to get off its moral high horse.

Whether you agree or disagree with the sacking of Paterno, Harris isn't necessarily wrong for standing up for what he believes. 

Unfortunately, everything that is being said right now is on suspicion and not fact. To make matters worse, Mike McQueary is changing his story.

Harris' point about the university not offering a reason gives credence to the fact that there are no facts right now.

Needless to say, there is no end in sight in the Jerry Sandusky case.

Franco Harris is not the first and certainly won't be the last to unjustly fall in the wake of this scandal.


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