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Bill James is the father of modern statistical analysis in baseball. He’s a pioneer in the field and deserves a lot of credit for the team’s successful pickups in the early part of the new Red Sox regime. He clearly knows his baseball…so much that the Red Sox signed him as a senior adviser in 2002.
But, he has no idea what he’s talking about with Joe Paterno and the Penn State scandal.
James vehemently defended Paterno during an interview with ESPN Radio’s Doug Gottlieb over the weekend, and has taken heat for it ever since.
“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. Sandusy 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.”
It’s likely that James may be coming to the aid of his friend Joe Posnanski, who has defended Paterno from the beginning and is writing the former Penn State coach’s biography. I mean, how else can you explain James’s comments?
In response to the interview and bad press, the Red Sox released a statement Monday distancing themselves from James’s comments.
“Red Sox 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,” the statement read. “In that call, Mr. James was informed that his comments in no way reflect the opinions or positions of the Red Sox. Because Mr. James is perceived as representative of Red Sox, he was asked to refrain from further public comments on this matter.”