Dr. Saturday

Franco Harris continues to debate Joe Paterno’s legacy, this time at town hall meeting

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Dr. Saturday

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Franco Harris with Joe Paterno in 2006 (Associated Press)

We understand where Franco Harris is coming from, really.

Joe Paterno was Harris' college coach, he holds him in high regard, and he wants to clear his name. He has been an outspoken supporter for Paterno when it comes to the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the notion that the former Penn State coach played a part in covering it up. Now comes news from the Centre Daily Times that this Saturday in Pittsburgh, the Pro Football Hall of Famer will host a town hall meeting to continue to discuss Paterno.

The town hall meeting is called "Upon Further Review: Penn State One Year Later." They'll discuss the Freeh Report, the NCAA's sanctions and Paterno's legacy, the story says.

Apparently, after a year, we still haven't reached a point where these topics have been beaten into the ground.

We've pretty much reached a deadlock in this debate. Those who defend Paterno will always defend him. Those who think Paterno was guilty of not doing more, so he could protect his image or the program, aren't going to be swayed at this point. Without some new information, who's being swayed in the debate after all the ink that has been spilled on it already?

There is a 2 1/2-hour audience participation segment planned for this town hall meeting. Sounds fun.

"From the charges of the Freeh Report to the sanctions of the NCAA and the decisions of the Penn State board of trustees, the ongoing debate over Coach Paterno has had a dramatic effect on Joe's legacy and the Penn State football program," Harris said in a news release, according to the story. "I'm eager to host a panel of experts — both pro and con — hear the views of community members, and offer a presentation that gives new information and analysis as well as a new perspective."

Although Harris is looking forward to a discussion, he is obviously still on his former coach's side.

"After reading the Freeh Report, I'm more convinced than ever that Joe was not involved in a cover-up," Harris said. "There was no cover-up by the athletic department or the football program."

To think there was absolutely no cover up by the athletic department or football program is to ignore plenty of evidence to the contrary, but we assume nothing that is said in this meeting Saturday will change Harris' mind. Or anyone else's mind, at this point. And it's hard to figure why Penn State fans would want to bring up these bad memories again for a few hours on a Saturday.

We'll pass.

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