Former Pittsburgh Steeler running back Franco Harris had the cops called on him today in Los Angeles after members of his entourage refused to turn off their cameras while he attempted to interview the president of the NCAA on the controversial Jerry Sandusky affair.
Harris attended Penn State University, the same school where Sandusky coached while molesting countless boys before he was convicted and sent to prison this year.
His questions were in defense of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, considered a legend in parts of Pennsylvania, who coached the Nittany Lions for 45 years before he was forced to resign in 2011 amidst the Sandusky sex scandal.
He had traveled from Pittsburgh with John Ziegler, who maintains Framing Paterno, a site attempting to clear Paterno’s name in the scandal, even though evidence suggests that he knew about the molestations for years but didn’t do anything about it.
The watch commander for the Rampart Community Police of the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed officers from his department visited the site, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, to respond to a disturbance and that no one was arrested. The NCAA did not immediately return a call seeking comment, nor did a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
The watch commander said the police were called after the Chamber of Commerce asked Ziegler and others with him to stop recording the event. Ziegler said he was told in advance he could bring handheld cameras. He said four people had cameras and that Harris didn’t.
A Chamber of Commerce web page said Emmert was to speak on the NCAA’s efforts to embrace academics and to protect and sustain the collegiate student-athlete model. During the question and answer portion of the event, Ziegler said Harris asked Emmert a question about Penn State, along the lines of “why Joe Paterno didn’t get any due process.” Ziegler said he was asked to stop recording by NCAA representatives after Harris asked that question.
After Emmert was done speaking for the event, Ziegler said, Harris approached him to ask a follow-up question about suggesting Emmert speak to the committee on infractions regarding the Penn State sanctions. Ziegler said Emmert gave a quick response and then immediately left through a back door. He said NCAA representatives attempted to block him from recording the follow-up question. The police, Ziegler said, didn’t arrive until after Emmert had left.