Penn State Trustee Ken Frazier has never wavered in his unconditional support of the Freeh report and its findings, even going so far as to compare Freeh report doubters to people who believe the O.J. Simpson verdict was correct.
It all went down yesterday in Hershey during one of the Board of Trustees committee meetings, where Frazier was confronted by board candidate Bill Cluck, a Harrisburg lawyer. Cluck — like many Penn Staters (and Bob Costas) — questioned some of the conclusions Freeh reached in the report and commented that the document would not hold up legally in court, much to the chagrin of the fiery Frazier. You can watch part of the exchange in the video below.
After attempting to interrupt Cluck, Frazier went on a verbal rampage, denouncing the concept of due process and making a reference to Cluck’s race.
“I believe that we are entitled to look at the words and contemporaneous emails and other documents that draw the conclusions that we need to draw as a university. We are not subject to the criminal beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard, and you’re a lawyer, so you can stop pretending that you think we are. We can take employment actions, we can take corrective actions without any need to resort to the so-called due process, reasonable doubt standard, and I don’t care if they are acquitted. And you know the difference. If you cared about that, you are one of the few people in this country that looks like you who actually believes the O.J. Simpson not guilty verdict was correct. The fact of the matter is, those documents say what they say, and no amount of hand waving will ever change what those documents say.”
That wasn’t all Frazier had to say about how much he loves the Freeh report.
“Judge Freeh’s recommendations have been an invaluable North Star as we implement changes, as we make our university stronger and more accountable,” Frazier said. “It is crystal clear that we, as a board, cannot and should not reinvestigate the Freeh investigation.”
Frazier isn’t a fan of ALL reports, however. He denounced on the Paterno family-commissioned report released last month, calling it “just a report” — pretty far off from a “North Star” you could say.
“In my personal opinion, the Paterno report strains to interpret the 1998 and 2001 emails and other documentation in ways that are at odds with the plain language of those documents,” Frazier said. “The Paterno report is therefore, largely non-responsive or irrelevant.”
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Frazier’s actions as a trustee since that terrible week in November. Frazier, the CEO of Merck, was in charge of the special task force that hired Louis Freeh to conduct his investigation and was the first trustee to stand up and support the report on national television only a few hours after the 200+ page report was released.
Over 30 former football players are expected to attend and speak at the public comment session during the full board meeting later this afternoon.
After yesterday’s episode, Frazier will likely be in their crosshairs.
UPDATE (10:50 a.m.): Scott Paterno responds to Frazier’s remarks.