Boston Red Sox senior advisor Bill James drew attention over the weekend — almost all of it negative — for his comments defending late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno on the heels of the Freeh Report’s findings that Paterno and members of the Penn State administration had “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
The Red Sox today publicly separated themselves from James’ views and asked him to stop speaking about the issue.
In a press release, the team said:
“This afternoon, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington spoke to Bill James regarding him making public his personal opinions on Joe Paterno.
In that call, Mr. James was informed that his comments in no way reflect the opinions or positions of the Red Sox; and, because he is perceived as a representative of the Red Sox, he was asked to refrain from any further public comments on this matter.”
James, who helped start the sabermetrics revolution that led to a more statistically driven analysis of baseball, had said in an interview with ESPN Radio’s Doug Gotlieb that Paterno was receiving too much blame for his role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Sandusky was the long-time defensive coordinator under Paterno.
“It’s very hard, in fact it’s impossible, to explain why Paterno should have been the person to go to the police,” James told Gotlieb. “Paterno didn’t see anything. Paterno was not the reporting authority. Sandusky did not work for Paterno. Paterno had no supervisory authority over Sandusky. It’s extremely difficult to explain why it was Paterno’s responsibility to go to the police. He knew less about it than anyone else there.”
…”You’re saying everything revolves around (Paterno). It’s total nonsense,” James said. “He had very few allies. He was isolated and he was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been.”