Franco Harris and two other former Penn State football players say the report about Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal "is highly flawed, and factually insufficient." Harris, Rudy Glocker and Christian Marrone sent to other Penn State alumni an email and letter criticizing the Freeh report that they plan publish in The Wall Street Journal and other large publications. The email and letter were obtained by The Associated Press on Friday. The players claim there was a rush to judgment by the media, the board of trustees, university officials and the NCAA after the blistering report was released two weeks ago. The report compiled by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh accuses school officials, including late coach Joe Paterno, of covering up the abuse to avoid bad publicity. "A grave injustice has occurred over these past two weeks that began with the issuance of the Freeh report," the email states. "After much review, it's clear the report is highly flawed, and factually insufficient. Yet, the media, the Board of Trustees, University officials and the NCAA, seem to have read only the conclusions and not the content of the report and have failed to question the report's evidentiary basis or lack thereof -- they have rushed to judgment. As a result, OUR program has been brutally harmed and our Coach has been completely tarnished." Sandusky, the former longtime defensive coordinator at Penn State under Paterno, was convicted of using his position at Penn State and as head of a youth charity to molest 10 boys over a period of 15 years. He's awaiting sentencing. Penn State was sanctioned by the NCAA for its handling of the Sandusky case, based largely on the findings in the Freeh report. The NCAA did not conduct its own investigation nor did it wait for criminal cases against two other Penn State officials to play out. The NCAA's penalties wiped away 14 seasons' worth of victories for Paterno, taking away the record he held as the winningest coach in the history of Division I college football. Penn State was also banned from postseason play for four seasons by the NCAA and had severe scholarships limits placed on its football program. The email asks those who support its claims to sign the letter and return it by Saturday. Harris is one of Penn State's greatest players. He played fullback for Paterno in the early 1970s and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Glocker graduated from Penn State in 1992. Marrone graduated in 1997. The letter, dated July 27 and titled "Rush to Judgment," claims the "snap judgments reached by the Freeh report about what Coach Joe Paterno knew and what he did deserve further analysis. In short, we believe this report has irresponsibly impugned Paterno's reputation without sufficient evidence." The players criticize the thoroughness of the Freeh report because the investigators did not interview many of the central people in the case, including Paterno, who died in January, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz, who are both awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse, and former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was a key witness in the case against Sandusky. The players say Freeh made what he deemed "reasonable conclusions" about Paterno's alleged "cover-up" based on three emails. But the emails, two from 1998 and one from 2001, do not support that conclusion, the players say. The players say an email from Curley to then-Penn State University President Graham Spanier dated May 5, 1998, was used as evidence by the report to conclude "Paterno was fully and completely informed of the details of the investigation" of allegations against Sandusky. "But how does Mr. Freeh know for sure?" the players say in the letter. "Freeh's investigators did not interview Curley, and Penn State President Graham Spanier (who was interviewed), didn't remember the email at all." The players say an email dated May 13, 1998, from Curley to Schultz, titled "Jerry" and asking, "Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands," is too vague to be used as proof of a cover-up. The players point out the District Attorney chose not to prosecute Sandusky after a report was filed by police in 1998 about an allegation of sexual abuse. The players also say an email from Curley to Spanier and Schultz sent in 2001, after McQueary had seen Sandusky assaulting a boy in the showers of Penn State's football building, "unjustifiably portrays Paterno as omnipotent apparently for the sole purpose of tearing him down," in the Freeh report. "We will never hear from Coach Paterno, but those of us who knew him believe he, deserves the benefit of the doubt and like all citizens, is presumed innocent until proven guilty."
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.
Five safe picks for the Redskins
Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it.
RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley.
DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas.
OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent.
LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West.
CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man.
Tandler on Twitter
Jonathan Allen also missed 11 games and Ioannidis was either out or playing in a cast for a third of the season. Also, again, DL available past the first round.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) April 21, 2018
—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140
In case you missed it
- The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez
- Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018
- Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:
GAME 4: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Time to get even
After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.
With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.
Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006.
How will Raptors respond?
Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.
Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.
It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.
The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.
The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.
The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.
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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: