Nike (NYSE: NKE) announced on Thursday that it would rename its child care center, named after Joe Paterno, in light of a report that showed the former Penn State coach was implicit in covering up Jerry Sandusky's wrongdoings.
Nike CEO Mark Parker announced in a statement that the new information has led the worldwide apparel company to distance itself from Paterno and the Penn State football program.
I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State. It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes, Parker said in a statement. 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.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight released a statement of his own: 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.
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell noted on Twitter that there are 18 buildings on Nike's campus that are named after sports figures and that Paterno is the first to have his name removed.
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The drastic move comes after the release of the The Freeh Report, on Penn State's impropriety, compiled by former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh. The damning report showed that Paterno, along with other leaders at Penn State, repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse.
Sandusky, who was recently found guilty of 54 charges of child abuse, repeatedly sexually molested young boys on the Penn State campus, but wasn't stopped by any of the school's leaders. Paterno claimed in a Grand Jury testimony that he knew little of the allegations against Sandusky besides a conversation with former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who witnessed Sandusky abusing a young boy in the showers, but Freeh's investigation proved that Paterno knew of multiple instances of Sandusky's inappropriate behavior.
Paterno claimed his innocence and naivety of Sandusky's ways until his death in January.