Today has been a rough day for Joe Paterno’s legacy.
Nike has announced it will remove Paterno’s name from the Joe Paterno Child Development Center on its Oregon campus.
Nike president Mark Parker’s said in a statement, “I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State. It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes. With the findings released today, I have decided to change the name of our child care center at our World Headquarters. My thoughts are with the victims and the Penn State community.”
Phil Knight, a cofounder and chairman of Nike Inc., eulogized Paterno at his memorial earlier this year. At the memorial, Knight expressed his love and admiration for a man he called his hero:
Knight also gave a prepared statement on the decision to take down Paterno’s name to Forbes. In part Knight said, “According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains.”
The decision to take down his name came just hours after the release of the Freeh report, an independent investigation into the Jerry Sandusky abuse allegations. In the report former FBI director Louis Freeh blamed Paterno and other top school officials for failing to alert police about child sex abuse by Sandusky.
Freeh, in prepared remarks he was to deliver later on Thursday, said Paterno and others showed “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” Reuters reported.