Nike Founder Defends Paterno, Gets Standing O

Blame investigation, not legendary coach: Phil Knight
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2012 5:09 PM CST
Nike Founder Defends Paterno, Gets Standing O
Thousands of people attend a memorial service for former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight brought a Joe Paterno memorial crowd to its feet when he defended the former coach over the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Paterno "gave full disclosure to his superiors, information that went up the chains to the head of the campus police and the president of the school. The matter was in the hands of a world-class university," Knight said. "This much is clear to me. If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno."

Some 12,000 listeners at the public event at Penn State, including JoePa's widow, gave Knight a standing ovation. "Who is the real trustee at Penn State University?" he added. The comment came during a week in which few have mentioned the scandal as they remember the coach, the AP notes. Paterno's son also touched on the matter. "Joe Paterno left this world with a clear conscience," he said. (Read more Phil Knight stories.)

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