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"Spygate" gets political
By MICHAEL A. WILSON, MOP Squad Sports Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Feb 4, 2008 - 11:25:11 PM

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Is Arlen Specter bored? 

For those who don’t know, Arlen Specter is a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  And, I’m guessing, he’s up for re-election in November. 

As I’m sure everyone remembers, Bill Belichick got busted by the NFL for illegally videotaping the New York Jets on the sidelines during a Jets/New England Patriots game.  It was a despicable thing to do and the NFL needed to throw the book at Belichick.

I don’t like Bill Belichick.  Not from a personal standpoint; I don’t know him personally.  But he comes off to me as incredibly arrogant, smug and mean.  I’m more than willing to admit that my dislike for Belichick is based on jealousy.  Still, don’t expect to see him on the guest list to any party I throw. 

Anyway, that aside, the NFL did punish Belichick.  Did the punishment fit the crime?  There’s some discussion about that.  Belichick was fined half a million bucks and the team was fined a quarter million plus the team had a first round draft pick confiscated.  It’s possibly the steepest penalty ever levied on any team at any time for any reason.  So, while it can be argued that the penalty, all things considered, wasn’t steep enough, it was a whopper of historic proportions, really. 

So, Belichick and the Patriots paid their fine (well, they will finish paying at the next draft when they lose their pick).  The NFL, satisfied with the outcome of things, ended the investigation and proceeded to destroy the evidence collected in the investigation.  I’m not sure why they did that; it must be policy or something.  But it kind of makes sense: the issue is over with and it’s time to move on. 

Except for the Senator from Pennsylvania.  See, he’s upset that the NFL destroyed the evidence from the investigation.  He sees it as an integrity issue. 

“The American people are entitled to be sure about the integrity of the game,” he said.  I took that quote from an Associated Press article which, in turn, took it from an New York Times piece.  Well, yeah, Senator, but hasn’t this been resolved?  And why, frankly, does Congress need to get involved? 

It seems to me that what’s needed here is a little perspective.  It’s an internal matter that was dealt with adequately, if not perfectly, by the league.  To me, it’s not that big of a deal.  It’s certainly not at the level of performance enhancing drugs or gambling/rigging of games, is it? 

Pat Tillman, he had perspective.  He saw the big picture.  Kevin Everett has it, I’m sure.  And anyone who knew Sean Taylor or Darrent Williams or Korey Stringer probably has it, too. 

But the Senator’s perspective?  Well, here’s another quote from the New York Times article via the AP:

"It's analogous to the CIA destruction of tapes. Or any time you have records destroyed."

Uh, yeah.  Because, as we all know, stealing somebody’s blitz calls is just as important as questions about waterboarding and other forms of torture.  Or learning a team’s defensive line stunts is analogous to interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.  With American lives continually being lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the U.S. and
global economies seriously tanking, Specter’s going to fret about this?

Like I said, perspective.

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