The head of sportswear giant Nike has pulled the name of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno off the child care center at its corporate headquarters.
In response to the damning report released Thursday detailing Paterno’s choice to “conceal” allegations of child sex abuse against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the company released a statement announcing their decision.
“I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State,” wrote president and CEO Mark Parker. “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.”
Paterno had been longtime friends with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who had stuck by the coach when the controversy broke and defended Paterno again at Paterno’s funeral. Thursday, he said in the statement that he still respects the coach despite “missteps.”
“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,” Knight said.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing young boys, some of it at Penn State facilities, over a 14-year period. The report found that top officials at Penn State including Paterno did nothing to help the victims of the abuse because they were afraid of bad publicity.