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Writer Bill James defends Joe Paterno

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger

Noted Baseball writer and Red Sox employee, Bill James, is defending former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

James wrote on his own website that he had read the Freeh report, released Thursday, that he disagreed with some of the conclusions and even questions Freeh's integrity and motives. From the "Hey Bill" section of his website:

I think he said what he believed to be true. Of course, he was paid a lot of money to say what the Penn State Trustees WANTED to be true, so there's that as well. It's a part of the process of moving on. I disagree with a certain number of his conclusions.

Earlier on his website, he wrote a larger defense of Paterno:

The Freeh reports states quite explicitly and at least six times (a) that the 1998 incident did NOT involve any criminal conduct—on the part of Sandusky or anyone else—and (b) that Paterno had forced the resignation of Sandusky before the 1998 incident occurred.

The 1998 incident was perceived AT THE TIME to involve no criminal conduct. The May 3, 1998 incident was very, very, very thoroughly investigated by at least four different agencies (University police, state police, and two different child welfare agencies), all four of which issued written reports stating that no criminal event had occurred. In retrospect, since the actions were part of a pattern of criminal conduct, it may be said that they were criminal conduct in and of themselves, but no one saw that at the time.

In any case, what EXACTLY is it that Paterno should have done? Fire him again? It is preposterous to argue, in my view, that PATERNO should have taken action after all of the people who were legally charged to take action had thoroughly examined the case and decided that no action was appropriate.

It should be noted that James also read -- and loudly criticized -- the Dowd Report, dismissing its conclusions that Pete Rose bet on baseball. Rose finally admitted he bet on baseball in 1994.

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