All I wanted for my birthday was SpyGate to end however much like Cher’s insufferable singing career SpyGate refuses to die thanks to an “incensed” Philadelphia Eagles fan in Congress. Now it’s time to get the government involved. Oh yay…joy.
Sen. Arlen Specter on Wednesday called for an independent investigation of the New England Patriots’ taping of opposing coaches’ signals, setting up another hearing much like the high-profile Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball but with less comedy unless they can tie in Roger Clemens.
“I have documented the strong factual case that a NFL investigation was neither objective nor adequate,” Specter said on Wednesday evening. “If the commissioner doesn’t move for an independent investigation, then there will be a permanent black mark on the NFL and the Patriots’ record will be historically tainted. Depending on the public reaction, I may ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the NFL antitrust exemption.”
This guy is now just embarrassing himself. He needs to up his credibility by moving on to JFK assassination conspiracies and re-opening the investigation at Roswell.
At an earlier news conference in the Capitol, Specter put it bluntly:
“What is necessary is an objective investigation. And this one has not been objective.”
This is now officially out of control. Apparently Specter needs a $5000/hr hooker to occupy some of his time because with the way he is going at this SpyGate nonsense he obviously has too much time on his hands.
The Pennsylvania Republican is unforgiving of his criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, saying that Goodell has made “ridiculous” assertions that wouldn’t fly “in kindergarten.” The Senator said Goodell was caught in an “apparent conflict of interest” because the NFL doesn’t want the public to lose confidence in the league’s integrity. Quite honestly he might be right…but still…damn.
“They are enormous role models for everybody,” Specter said. “If you can cheat in the NFL, you can cheat in college, you can cheat in high school, you can cheat on your grade-school math test. There’s no limit as to what you can do. I think they owe the public a lot more candor and a lot more credibility.”
Goodell essentially declared an end to Spygate after a 3½-hour meeting in New York on Tuesday morning with former New England video assistant Matt Walsh. Walsh supplied the league with videotapes of coaches’ signals made by the Patriots but offered no new significant revelations about the cheating scandal that has threatened to taint the team’s three Super Bowl titles.
Goodell said afterward that the information from the interview with Walsh “was consistent with what we disciplined the Patriots for last fall,” when the commissioner docked the team a 2008 first-round draft pick (which for some reason they still had) and fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000.
But Specter held his own three-hour meeting with Walsh in Washington on Tuesday. He said Walsh detailed how the Patriots used videotaped signals to their advantage: An offensive player would memorize the signals, watch for them on the sideline and pass them on to assistant coach Charlie Weis, who would then inform quarterback Tom Brady.
“And they had some obviously good results,” Specter said.
The NFL issued a response through spokesman Gregg Aiello.
“We respectfully disagree with Senator Specter’s characterization of the investigation conducted by our office. We are following up after yesterday’s meeting with Matt Walsh,” he said.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team had no comment on Specter’s remarks.
Wednesday, the Boston Herald issued a “My Bad” for a story that said the Patriots videotaped a St. Louis Rams walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl.
In the apology, published in the newspaper’s Wednesday edition and posted on its Web site, the Herald said the story was based on sources “it believed to be credible.”
“We now know that this report was false and that no tape of the walk-through ever existed,” the paper wrote.
“We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification. The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriots’ owners, players, employees and fans for our error,” it said.
However in an interview with HBO scheduled to air Friday night on “Real Sports with Major Tool Bryant Gumbel,” Walsh dismissed Belichick’s attempts to minimize the impact of the taping.
“If it was of little or no importance, I imagine they wouldn’t have continued to do it, and probably not taken the chances of going down onto the field in Pittsburgh or shooting from other teams’ stadiums the way we did,” Walsh said.
Walsh told HBO that his superiors coached him on how to evade NFL rules limiting the number of camera operators per team to two, and that team officials instructed him on ways to avoid detection.
Now correct me if I’m wrong but if Belichick thought he was operating within the rules then why would Walsh need to “avoid detection?”
“When I was doing it, I understood what we were doing to be wrong,” Walsh said. “We went to great lengths to keep from being caught. Just saying that the rules were misinterpreted isn’t enough of an apology or a reasoning for what was done. …
“Coach Belichick’s explanation for having misinterpreted the rules, to me, that really didn’t sound like taking responsibility for what we had done, especially considering the great lengths that we had gone through to hide what we were doing.”
I think a really simple solution to all of video taping crap is to not allow any teams to tape a game. Instead have the NFL tape the game from all angles and then forward a copy of each tape to each team. That way everybody is seeing the same thing. I don’t know just a thought…
This investigation will go away the minute that Comcast gets The NFL Network for free.
And now the devil’s advocate side:
It’s not over until the fans say it’s over. Goodell ran a cover-up. The fact that the Patriots’ punishment was harsher than anything that came before is a testament to how lax the league had been before. Caught with its pants down, they had to do something that “looked” tough. But $250K is nothing to the Pats organization. $500K is not a serious dent to Belichick – and his arrogance after the fact proves it. And the first round draft pick? Come on. Second to last pick in the first round, one they likely would have traded down in order to get a couple of players who may or may not have been relevant to their future. That’s a pretty easy punishment.
Goodell knew he couldn’t push harder than that, or else he’d be admitting that his sport was tarnished, that the great dynasty of our time had been cheating its way to wins and possibly to titles. He had to punish them in an unsatisfying way in order to make it seem like it was something, but not nearly as bad as it was.
Also I would like to know why Goodell had the original tapes destroyed…..that makes absolutely no sense. I am ready to get over this but the sad thing is we never will know how much all of this cheating actually helped the Patriots…..maybe it won them super bowls, maybe it made little difference. I have a feeling we will never know, which sucks. I know this much….Goodell did/does not want the past results of his league to be put into jeopardy. That is not good for business. And that’s all this is…. a business.