Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions during warmups before facing the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.(September 10, 2010 – Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The near-capacity crowd of 12,000 seemed to be just waiting for somebody to bring up the subject. Finally, when someone rose in Joe Paterno’s defense to argue that he had been made a scapegoat, the audience was instantly on its feet, applauding thunderously.
Anger and resentment came spilling out at a campus memorial service Thursday for the football coach, two months after he was summarily fired by the trustees.
It was Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight who broke the dam, defending Paterno’s handling of child-sex allegations that were leveled against a former coaching assistant.
“If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno’s response,” Knight said. Paterno’s wid...