Pittsburgh mayor wants Harris off charity board

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he’s “satisfied” with the discussion by a charitable scholarship board on whether to retain Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris after the former Penn State star spoke out against the ouster of former coach Joe Paterno.

The Pittsburgh Promise board of directors met for nearly five hours on Thursday night, a day after Ravenstahl sent a letter to board members _ Harris included _ asking Harris be removed from his post.

“I’m satisfied with the board’s steadfast support of educating young people and supporting young people,” Ravenstahl said. “I’m satisfied with the active discussion we had. This is a very sensitive issue.”

Board members indicated no immediate action against Harris after adjourning.

Harris played for Paterno at Penn State before helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls.

He said last week the school’s trustees showed “no courage” by firing Paterno in the wake of the sex abuse scandal surrounding former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Ravenstahl, who co-founded Pittsburgh Promise in 2007, directed a strongly worded letter of rebuke at Harris.

“To so adamantly and vocally defend one man while maintaining silence for those powerless to defend themselves, shows me that you are the wrong man to represent the Pittsburgh Promise and the ideals it embodies,” Ravenstahl wrote.

The mayor softened his stance after the meeting. Harris expressed concern for the victims to reporters prior to the meeting and said the meeting put the focus on the organization and not his comments.

This is the second time this week Harris has come under fire for his comments in support of Paterno. His job as a spokesman for a southwestern Pennsylvania racetrack and casino was put “on hold” after the track decided the matter needed to be looked at more closely.

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