It is amazing just what kind of reach this whole tragic saga at Penn State has had in the sporting world and beyond. First Ashton Kutcher's uninformed tweets, then Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White openly wondering why Penn State had to tell the media they had a coach raping kids.
Over the weekend Bill James, the father of sabermetrics in baseball and adviser to the Boston Red Sox, offered his take on the Freeh Report and Joe Paterno in an interview on The Doug Gottlieb Show.
Some of the quotes, as reported by the New York Post, from James:
“The people who are responsible for it are the media,” James said on ESPN Radio’s “The Doug Gottlieb Show.” “The media created this smokescreen behind which Sandusky operated and then they’re trying to blame Paterno for the fact that they were covering up for Sandusky.”
“I think it’s impossible to explain why Paterno should have been the person to go to the police,” James said. “Paterno did not see anything, Paterno was not the reporting authority. Sandusky did not work for Paterno. Paterno had no supervising 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 there.”
The Red Sox asked James to refrain from commenting on the Penn State situation moving forward. James is not a Penn State graduate (he attended Kansas) and has no ties to the school, although we do know that Jay Paterno is a member of the Red Sox Nation. The club also released a statement on their request, via Twitter.
Red Sox Owner John Henry & GM Ben Cherington spoke to Bill James regarding him making public his personal opinions on Joe Paterno (1 of 3)— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2012
In that call, Mr. James was informed that his comments in no way reflect the opinions or positions of the Red Sox (2 of 3)— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2012
Because Mr. James is perceived as representative of Red Sox, he was asked to refrain from further public comments on this matter. (3 of 3)— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2012
Perhaps James should just stick to baseball numbers and play it safe here.