The Red Sox Monday asked senior adviser of baseball operations Bill James to refrain from commenting about Joe Paterno and the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.
James went on the radio over the weekend and defended Paterno after a report that said he should have done more to prevent assistant coach Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing boys.
The team issued a statement that 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 said on the Doug Gottlieb program on ESPN Radio that he had read the 267-page Freeh report, which concluded that Paterno, Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
James didn’t agree that Paterno should have done more to bring Sandusky to justice and argued that it should have been done by Penn State assistant Mike McQueary, who said he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the shower.
“It’s very hard, in fact it’s impossible, to explain why Paterno should have been the person to go to the police,” James said to Gottlieb. “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.”
Gottlieb countered that Paterno was the most powerful man at Penn State, and that he should have led the charge against Sundusky.
“Absolutely false,” James said. “You’re saying everything revolves around him. It’s total nonsense. [Paterno] had very few allies. He was isolated and he was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been.
“They kept it quiet because they had no idea what was happening . . . they just thought they were dealing with a little misunderstanding.”