Jump to content

WOW - Senate Investigation - NFL/Pats


apopip
 Share

Recommended Posts

Long read - but interesting timing with the SB this weekend.

The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee wants N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell to explain why the league destroyed evidence related to spying by the New England Patriots.

New England Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 by the N.F.L. after the Patriots were caught stealing defensive signals.

In the stretch of 12 days, from Sept. 9 to Sept. 20, the Patriots were caught filming the Jets' defensive signals in violation of N.F.L. rules, ordered to hand over all tapes of illegal filming to the league office, fined $750,000 and made to forfeit a first-round draft pick.

Then the N.F.L. announced it had destroyed the evidence.

In a telephone interview Thursday morning, Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and ranking member of the committee, said that Goodell would eventually be called before the committee to address two issues: the league's antitrust exemption in relation to its television contract and the destruction of the tapes that revealed spying by the Patriots.

"That requires an explanation," Specter said. "The N.F.L. has a very preferred status in our country with their antitrust exemption. The American people are entitled to be sure about the integrity of the game. It's analogous to the C.I.A. destruction of tapes. Or any time you have records destroyed."

Mr. Specter first wrote Mr. Goodell about the tapes on Nov. 15. After more than a month passed without a response, Mr. Specter wrote to him again.

The league responded to Mr. Specter late Thursday afternoon. A spokesman said the letters did not reach the league office until late last week. The league added that it spoke to Mr. Specter's office several times during November and December, but that the letters were never mentioned. Mr. Specter said the league had told his office last week it would not respond until after the Super Bowl.

Joe Browne, the N.F.L.'s executive vice president for internal affairs, said, "The irony is that we have been in contact with the senator's office several times in recent weeks." He added that "the issue of these letters was not discussed."

Mr. Specter called Mr. Browne's response "untrue."

"It's the same old story," Mr. Specter said. "What you did is never as important as the cover-up. This sequence raises more concerns and doubts."

When Mr. Specter was asked if he could envision a situation in which employees of the Patriots or the N.F.L. were called to testify before the committee, he said he wanted to take the investigation "one step at a time."

"It could," Mr. Specter said. "It's premature to say whom we're going to call or when. It starts with the commissioner. He had the tapes, and he made the decision as to what the punishment could be. He made the decision to destroy them."

Mr. Specter said it had not been determined when Mr. Goodell would be called before the committee.

Matt Walsh, a Patriots employee from 1996 through 2003 who spent much of that time in the video department, said he would like to see the issue resolved.

"Was it a surprise that they were doing it or a surprise that they got caught?" Mr. Walsh said of the videotaping incident. "I guess that if you're doing something that people suspect you of, and then you start doing it to your former assistant coaches, then you're pushing your luck."

Mr. Walsh declined to say whether he would be willing to testify before a Congressional committee. He also said he had not been contacted by the N.F.L. about the Patriots or about videotaping.

"I'd like to see a resolution to the situation, so I don't have to have field media calls, especially after being out of the league for more than four years," he said.

Mr. Walsh, an assistant golf pro at the Ka'anapali Golf Resort in Lahaina, Hawaii, declined to get into specifics of what he did while with the Patriots' video department, citing confidentiality agreements he signed with the team. Greg Aiello, an N.F.L. spokesman, said the league did not have confidentiality agreements, but teams were free to make their own with their employees.

"After speaking to my lawyers and whatnot, I can't really talk to you about anything," Mr. Walsh said. "And I can't show you anything." Mr. Walsh said he had been approached by two news organizations, a "sports network" and "another media outlet that doesn't even specialize in sports." He said he would talk about his experiences only on his terms.

"If someone wanted me to talk and tell them things, I would craft an agreement where they would agree from now until the end of my existence to pay for any legal fees that came up in regards to this, whether I'm sued by the Patriots, the N.F.L., anybody else," he said. He also said he would want an indemnification agreement, with the news media company paying any fines or damages found against him in court. (It is against the policy of The New York Times to be part of such an agreement.) Mr. Walsh said he sought the legal advice after receiving telephone calls from the news media soon after the taping incident. He said he did so to protect himself and his family."

"If I ever got brought in for a deposition or something, then I would just face the whole gauntlet of questions," he said. "There would be things I'd be forced to answer that some people haven't taken responsibility for."

The Patriots' videotaping practices came into question during the opening game of their undefeated regular season. Jets security personnel caught a Patriots employee filming the Jets' defensive signals from the sideline at Giants Stadium on Sept. 9.

Mr. Goodell, whose father, Charles, was a congressman and later a senator from New York, went on national television and promised a full investigation. He ordered the Patriots to send in any videotape filmed in violation of N.F.L. rules, from any game in any season, to the league office.

After reviewing the tapes, the N.F.L. announced it had destroyed them, saying it did so to prevent them from being used to gain a competitive advantage.

Mr. Goodell levied the most severe penalty in history on the Patriots -- the loss of a first-round draft pick, a $500,000 fine for Coach Bill Belichick and a $250,000 fine for the team. The league said the penalty was for the Patriots' "totality of conduct" and not simply for the Jets game.

Mr. Goodell is to hold a news conference in Phoenix on Friday morning. When asked if the commissioner would address the destroyed evidence, what was on the tapes and why that information never was made public, Mr. Aiello, the league spokesman, said, "He will address whatever questions are asked."

The N.F.L. has addressed Mr. Specter's concerns about its antitrust exemption before.

"Over the years, we've testified before Senator Specter and the Judiciary Committee regarding our limited antitrust exemption," Mr. Browne said. "Usually, it's about television signals, not on-the-field defensive signals."

While responding to the antitrust exemption, the N.F.L. again declined to discuss the destruction of the tapes or discuss what they showed. Albert Tortorella, the managing director of crisis management for the Los Angeles-based Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, said he found that puzzling.

"Anytime Congress is involved with one of my clients, I tell them to respond," Mr. Tortorella said. "You may not want to give Congress anything. But ignoring them is not a good idea."

Mr. Specter, a lifelong Eagles fan who still calls Philadelphia sports radio stations most Monday mornings, said he was concerned about the integrity of sports as much as any fan.

"I don't think you have to have a law broken to have a legitimate interest by the Congress on the integrity of the game." He added: "What if there was something on the tapes we might want to be subpoenaed, for example? You can't destroy it. That would be obstruction of justice.

"It's premature to make any suggestions until you know a lot more about the matter. We need to know what's on those tapes."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's about time. Like the article says, the NFL has been given preferential treatment by congress over the years including right now. The US people deserve to know the truth and why would the NFL destroy the tapes rather than hold them someplace?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did they destroy the tapes? Would be great if they're exposed....however I think nothing will come of this...just more waste of OUR MONEY!!!

You could be wrong. This is a violation of the law as it is obstruction of justice and like I already said, the NFL has long since enjoyed a monopoly in every way thanks to Congress. Perhaps that will change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20080201_NFL___Goodell_will_be_questioned_in_spying_case.html

Obstruction of justice? It was a football game. It's not like he was not providing evidence in a murder investigation. If the government were going to do anything about the monopoly they wouldn't have ****ed the USFL over like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20080201_NFL___Goodell_will_be_questioned_in_spying_case.html

Obstruction of justice? It was a football game. It's not like he was not providing evidence in a murder investigation. If the government were going to do anything about the monopoly they wouldn't have ****ed the USFL over like that.

I'm not sure of the laws perhaps someone else knows better, but I would have to believe that if there were tapes that exist that show the Pats have been cheating for years, then there should have been further punishment per league rules and it would be a misrepresentation of the NFL's product which would be a violation of the law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, the United States government doesn't have bigger fish to fry than a spying scandal in the NFL? Maybe things aren't quite as big of a mess as they seem.

Well I would hope congress is for making sure big companies can't rip off, or fool consumers. I personally think that is a pretty important part of their job.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could be wrong. This is a violation of the law as it is obstruction of justice and like I already said, the NFL has long since enjoyed a monopoly in every way thanks to Congress. Perhaps that will change.

Can't see your obstruction of justice argument...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the destruction of these tapes may be one of the dumbest moves NFL has ever done.

Why did they destroy the tapes? Would be great if they're exposed....however I think nothing will come of this...just more waste of OUR MONEY!!!

assuming they win on Sunday...will anyone care in 10 years? or will they be football's blacksox that actually won it?

Cheating is cheating, not sure if other teams' fans are on board with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure of the laws perhaps someone else knows better, but I would have to believe that if there were tapes that exist that show the Pats have been cheating for years, then there should have been further punishment per league rules and it would be a misrepresentation of the NFL's product which would be a violation of the law.

There was only one tape destroyed that we know about. It is an internal matter and not a criminal one. If your boss has tape of you watching porn during work time is it "criminal obstruction of justice" for him to destroy the tape after you are punished? I don't see the connection. WWE is fake, should congress go after them? Sure the anti-trust **** lets them keep an eye on the NFL, but let's not get out of hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

assuming they win on Sunday...will anyone care in 10 years? or will they be football's blacksox that actually won it?

Cheating is cheating, not sure if other teams' fans are on board with this.

I agree 100%.

This is a misrepresentation of a product that people spend thousands of dollars a year on and companies invest millions in. If there was cheating and the NFL covered up then it is a violation of the law and destroying the tapes is therefor obstruction of justice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was only one tape destroyed that we know about. It is an internal matter and not a criminal one. If your boss has tape of you watching porn during work time is it "criminal obstruction of justice" for him to destroy the tape after you are punished? I don't see the connection. WWE is fake, should congress go after them? Sure the anti-trust **** lets them keep an eye on the NFL, but let's not get out of hand.

WWE is fake and it is readily admitted that it is not real. Read the fine print, the WWE states that it is acting. According to several sources there were many tapes handed over to the NFL front office.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obstruction of justice has a broad definition and includes to "delay, conceal, and cover up evidence" Why was Barry Bonds indicted for obstruction of justice?

The destruction of the tapes happen way before congress looked into the matter. At the time it was between the employee and employer (NFL). Now I can see if congress subpoenaed the NFL, then they destroyed the tapes....but it didn't work that way. Should be interesting to say the least, again I seriously doubt anything will come from this. Just more distraction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i guess i just wonder why he destroyed the tape.. if it was "no big deal" "every team does it, the pats just got caught" why the need to destroy it?

i dont know if the govt needs to investigate it.. BUT it did seem fishy at the time... you just dont destroy evidence, period.

as a teacher, when i caught kids cheating.. i wouldnt destroy the papers.. i would just put them in a file... i wouldnt but them on a bulletin board but i certainly wouldnt destroy them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i guess i just wonder why he destroyed the tape.. if it was "no big deal" "every team does it, the pats just got caught" why the need to destroy it?

i dont know if the govt needs to investigate it.. BUT it did seem fishy at the time... you just dont destroy evidence, period.

as a teacher, when i caught kids cheating.. i wouldnt destroy the papers.. i would just put them in a file... i wouldnt but them on a bulletin board but i certainly wouldnt destroy them.

can i have my exam back now please?;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me the mere fact that the tapes were destroyed indicate that there was something

more to be learned from them.

Even if they weren't and the Pats were found to be cheating in some manner, what

would they do, play the particular game over again?

My take is that forever more Belly will be known as the coach that was caught cheating

and every player will have that note in his bio when one goes to google it.

Look at the White Sox scandal. Almost 90 years ago and its still talked about today.

Even in this thread.

I agree with Alk. Better things to do and more important. To me they have their

punishment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The destruction of the tapes happen way before congress looked into the matter. At the time it was between the employee and employer (NFL). Now I can see if congress subpoenaed the NFL, then they destroyed the tapes....but it didn't work that way. Should be interesting to say the least, again I seriously doubt anything will come from this. Just more distraction.

Well I hope you are wrong and more does come from this. An NFL Team and the League's relationship is different than that of an employer and an employee. Both the team and the league have a responsibility to live up to what the consumers believe they are buying. They are both seperate entities and both have a resposibility. If there is proof they worked in concert to deceive its consumers than it is no different than a cereal manufacturer not displaying a dangerous chemical may exist in its product or better yet two companies working in concert to fix prices or limit potentially cheaper technology to fix prices. It is all the same thing really.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't this idiot some scum-bucket Eagles fan? Fer crissakes, some people can't let go. You lost the Superbowl! Donovan McNabb literally gagged. No go investigate the drug dealing going on in the Reid household. Thanks.

Sidenote: the upside of this stupid story is that my liberal bud, Bumbelina, is siding with a conservative Rublican. Hahahahahahaahaa....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't this idiot some scum-bucket Eagles fan? Fer crissakes, some people can't let go. You lost the Superbowl! Donovan McNabb literally gagged. No go investigate the drug dealing going on in the Reid household. Thanks.

Write to your congressman and tell him putting ingedients on products is stupid too while your at it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There perhaps was further information that they cheated on those tapes, therefor they and the NFL misrepresented their product. Which is a violation of federal law.

The tapes were destroyed because videogate extended beyond the NEP. Other teams taped signals.

The NEP took the fall for everyone but they asked for it when they ignored Goodells memo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WWE is fake and it is readily admitted that it is not real. Read the fine print, the WWE states that it is acting. According to several sources there were many tapes handed over to the NFL front office.

I'm pretty sure that the reason the WWE claims it is acting/entertainment is to avoid the steroid testing.

The destruction of the tapes happen way before congress looked into the matter. At the time it was between the employee and employer (NFL). Now I can see if congress subpoenaed the NFL, then they destroyed the tapes....but it didn't work that way. Should be interesting to say the least, again I seriously doubt anything will come from this. Just more distraction.

Bingo.

What laws did the NEP break?

Exactly. They broke NFL rules NOT laws.

There perhaps was further information that they cheated on those tapes, therefor they and the NFL misrepresented their product. Which is a violation of federal law.

Sheer conjecture. Where on earth did you come up with the hypothesis that there is further evidence that they cheated? You are only guessing when you claim there are "tapes" instead of a tape. Maybe they didn't keep the tape so everybody else couldn't look at the Jets signs. Joe Niekro used on emery board on a baseball, are you looking for a congressional investigation because MLB didn't keep the sandpaper?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...