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Local Boston media in lock step with Patriots

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.
The roll of media is to report and scrutinize events and activities that affect the public. Mark Fiarnella at The Sun Chronicle seems to agree somewhat with that. That said, Fairnella seems to think it's pretty sad that local Boston era media has fallen lock step in with the Patriots over the latest allegations of cheating by Bill Belichick:
In recent days, Patriots' coach Bill Belichick and VP-Personnel Scott Pioli have gone on the offensive with their condemnations of Walsh in exclusive interviews granted to the Boston Globe. Patriot-sympathetic media outlets have fallen into step quickly enough, including Boston radio station WEEI, which compensates Belichick and some players to participate in exclusive on-air interviews during the season. Anyone who dares call the station (particularly the afternoon drive-time show) to suggest that "Spygate" might actually have legs is immediately shouted down in a torrent of puerile insults.

Nice to know WEEI is adhering to journalistic ethics. I guess those "riveting" Bill Belichick interviews are too important to keep, and aren't worth risking if they have to, you know, report the news on "Spygate II." The reason the Patriots are going on the offensive with Matt Walsh (former Pats employee who says he has video evidence showing the Patriots taping other teams) is they are afraid his information will damn them. So, they are attacking his character before he even says a word on record.

Folks, if this Walsh guy really was of no importance, the Patriots would have dismissed him and continued on with their "We're moving on" crap. Now, they are attacking the guy before he says a word to Senator Arlen Specter or Roger Goodell. And speaking of Goodell, he has to be feeling the heat for all this as much as Scott Pioli, Bill Belichick, and Bob Kraft are.

Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell must be feeling one or two drops of sweat trickling down the back of his neck.

Even as he levied the "Spygate" punishments upon Belichick and the Patriots' organization, Goodell stuck his neck out about as far as it could go on behalf of the Patriots. By accepting their claim that they had turned over all "Spygate" evidence, and by ordering it destroyed, Goodell put his personal stamp upon the premise that the controversy was over.

Now, if more damaging information comes to light, it doesn't just reflect badly upon Belichick and his boss, Robert Kraft. It also would reflect quite badly upon the commissioner himself for meekly believing what he was told and not investigating further. Goodell's own future might be at risk if he is perceived by the owners who pay his salary that he harbored and protected cheaters in their midst.

The more these allegations come to light, the more you see people divide themselves into one of two camps: Those that are looking for the truth, and those that want to protect the NFL from itself. I have no sympathy or understanding for the latter group. The truth is more important than protecting the NFL's image. Suggested cheating is far worse than actually knowing, because the suggestion could linger for decades and slowly rot the NFL's credibility (example: Major League Baseball and steroids). Actual knowledge forces one to deal with the problem, and if the best method to deal with that problem is by cutting a cancer out from the NFL ranks, so be it. Farinella's line "Goodell's own future might be at risk if he is perceived by the owners who pay his salary that he harbored and protected cheaters in their midst," is especially interesting. Bob Kraft has a great deal of influence in NFL circles, and if he has used that influence to pressure Goodell to shut this up, then the problem is much more systemic than initially realized.
The NFL clearly wants "Spygate" to go away, and the league's spin doctors are hard at work trying to make that happen. Just a few days ago, the Rooney family in Pittsburgh issued a statement claiming that they believe the Patriots' videotaping had no bearing whatsoever upon the results of any recent games between the Patriots and Steelers.

One wonders if 30 copies of that same statement went to the rest of the franchises, with "fill in the blank" where the Steelers' name appeared.

What is important to understand here is that taping your opponent to either understand their formations or steal their signs is a violation of NFL rules. To do so gives the opponent a competitive advantage, which is why there is a rule in place to forbid it. Debating whether or not it gives one an advantage is nonsense, and is meant to throw you off the real issue. It is an advantage. No debate. People saying otherwise either don't know what they are talking about, or are lying to make this thing go away. Coaches like Tony Dungy and Mike Martz, and players like James Farrior, Marshall Faulk, and Kurt Warner all agree it is troubling that these kinds of things were done. And using the old "We didn't interpret the rules that way" excuse didn't work in September 2007. Why would it work now?

Is Roger Goodell trying to sweep Belichick's seven years of cheating under the turf to protect Paul Tagliabue's legacy?

Walsh's lawyer is now claiming his client has video evidence. Walsh is trying to work out a deal with the NFL to let him talk without violating his confidentiality agreement with the Patriots. BTW, the Pats are the only team in the NFL that require their video production staff to sign a confidentiality agreement. Gee, I wonder why? Of all people, Mike Florio at PFT actually offers the best solution to this problem:

If the Patriots are innocent, and if Walsh is such a lying pig, then the Patriots should release Walsh from his confidentiality agreement and let him talk to the NFL. If the Patriots have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong, then why muzzle Walsh with this agreement? Let him talk. If he's a lying lair that does nothing but lie (as the Patriots have suggested he is), then his lies will be exposed.

Hopefully, we'll have some real, concrete answers to this whole mess very soon, but I'm not optimistic. Goodell really screwed up with this, and he might be looking to simply bury it in order to save his hide, and protect Paul Tagliabue's legacy in the process. Most of this video taping occurred during Tagliabue's tenure as NFL Commissioner.