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Red Sox senior adviser Bill James defends Joe Paterno

Red Sox statistician Bill James.

Wendy Maeda/Globe File/2011

Red Sox senior adviser Bill James.

Bill James, who works for the Red Sox as a senior adviser in the baseball operations department, is making news outside of baseball.

James has engaged in a vigorous defense of Joe Paterno’s actions in the wake of the release of the Freeh report, which detailed the failings of Penn State and football coach Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case.

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It appears that James first made his opinions known on his own web site during a Q&A session.

James then did an interview with ESPN Radio and blamed the media for the Jerry Sandusky cover-up at Penn State.

“Paterno is one of the very few people who saw Sandusky and saw a coach who wasn’t doing a job anymore, rather than a hero … people who are responsible for it are the media,” James said in the interview. “The media created this smokescreen behind which Sandusky operated, and then they’re trying to blame Paterno.”

Earlier in the interview, James took issue with how Paterno’s power at Penn State was being portrayed, saying that the belief that “everything revolves around [Paterno] is total nonsense. He had very few allies. He was isolated. He was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been.”

James also challenged the notion that Paterno did not act appropriately when informed of allegations against Sandusky.

““It’s very hard, in fact I think it’s impossible, to explain why Paterno should have been the first to go to police. ... [Paterno] knew less about it than everybody else there,” James said.

The Freeh report, which was released last week, had found that senior leaders at Penn State, including Paterno, displayed “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

James, the father of baseball’s statistical revolution, has worked for the Red Sox since 2002 and has a biography in the team’s media guide along with other high-ranking executives. According to the bio, James “works with senior management and baseball operations group to provide research and analysis of special projects, player contracts and on-going concerns.”

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.
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