If you’ve been waiting for someone with a modicum of fame to brazenly come forward and defend that fraud Joe Paterno, baseball statistician Bill James is your man.
James went on Doug Gottlieb’s ESPN radio show and actually said the following (the entire interview lasts 15 minutes, and is highly recommended, but I pulled a few choice career-killing comments) while defending Paterno:
James: [Paterno] knew less about [Sandusky] than everyone else there … [the thought that] everything revolves around [Paterno at Penn State] is total nonsense. He had very few allies. He was isolated. He was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been.
[Gottlieb sounded apoplectic at this point]
James: “they kept it quiet because they had no idea what was happening … they just thought they were dealing with a little misunderstanding …”
[listen closely - you can hear the steam emitting from Gottlieb's ears]
James: “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. The media created this smokescreen behind which Sandusky operated, and then they’re trying to blame Paterno.”
By this point, Gottlieb has lost his mind, and around 14:10 asks James, “have you ever showered with a boy? Do you know anybody who has showered with a boy?” James: “Yes, that was actually quite common in the town I grew up in. That was quite common in America 40 years ago.”
And that ends the conversation.