"[Paterno] knew less about [Sandusky] than everyone else there … He had very few allies. He was isolated. 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 … 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."
Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk sums it up best for me. James isn't really crazy; this is a lifetime contrarian playing his role to oscar-winning perfection. Only this time it feels more disingenuous than outside-the-box. It's important to note that James doesn't dispute what has been reported and thought the Freeh Report was well done. Rather, he's disputing the interpretation most people have of the information contained therein. To James's mind, Penn State officials were not guilty of hiding anything in 1998, they just thought what they knew at that time was a "little misunderstanding," so why tell anyone about it?
The full audio is available over at ESPN and it's worth a listen, if only to hear an intelligent man grasp at straws (and claim that showering with boys was common in his hometown).
Bill James doubles down on the Joe Paterno defense [Hardball Talk]
Bill James Needs to Stop Defending Joe Paterno Because He Sounds Like an Imbecile [The Big league]