Bill James has been a contrarian -- to his benefit -- for most of his professional life, so his defense of Joe Paterno over the weekend couldn't have been a big surprise to too many people. After all, this is a man who argued strenuously that there was no proof Pete Rose bet on baseball almost up the moment Rose admitted his guilt.
However, the groundbreaking baseball analyst has been an employee of the Red Sox since late 2002 . . . and speculation was that standing up for Joe Paterno wouldn't fly with the p.r.-conscious bunch on Yawkey Way. Late Monday afternoon, our instincts proved correct with the issuing of the following statement:
BOSTON, MA -- This afternoon, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Executive Vice PresidentGeneral 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.