Nike co-founder Phil Knight had a change of heart after reviewing the Paterno family response to the investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.
Sandusky was convicted last year on 45 counts of sexual abuse.
The family on Sunday released a 238-page response through its legal team to last summer's Freeh report, defending former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Knight issued a statement on Monday after reading the Paternos response. It was read on ESPN by his wife, Penny.
"With the release of the report by the King and Spalding law firm, including analysis by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former FBI profiler James Clemente, it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated," Knight's statement said. "When this tragic story first unfolded Joe cautioned all of us to slow down and carefully gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. We owed it to the victims, he said, to get to the truth. It was counsel we all should have followed."
Knight said in July that Paterno "made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences."
The Freeh report concluded that Paterno did not do enough when he found out that Sandusky was sexually assaulting boys on and off campus, including the team's locker room, between 1998-2001.
The Paternos called the report a "failure," a "rush to judgment" and was not supported by facts.
Knight admitted that he made his comments in July without reading the 267-page Freeh report in full.
"When I later took the time to do so, I was surprised to learn that the alarming allegations, which so disturbed the nation, were essentially theories and assertions rather than solid charges backed by solid evidence," Knight said. "On reflection, I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment."
Knight's statement concluded that "while some may still debate the who, what, when, where, why of this sad case, the clear villain, as Jim Clemente notes, is Jerry Sandusky himself."