Specter Out of Bounds

Five months after the Spygate controversy came and went, Senator Arlen Spector decided Congress should be involved. Commissioner Goodell delivered harsh penalties to Bill Bellichek and the Patriots after the Jets called them on the carpet after Week One. Following some initial backlash from other teams, the incident became more of a spectacle, a punch line, as most players and teams admit stealing signs is an accepted practice. Why, after five months, does Spector now want to investigate why Goodell destroyed the video evidence?

Ironically, and conveniently, Spector made his proclamation days before the Super Bowl, which most of the sports media in the free world attends. Did I mention Spector, a frequent called to local Philly sports radio, happens to represent Pennsylvania, and be an Eagles fan, the Pats last Super Bowl victim? Toss in Spector’s relationship with Comcast, the cable provider feuding with the league-owned NFL Network, and we have a few ulterior motives.

Should government interfere with sports? An age old question that rises during labor disputes, and more recently steroid accusations. Do not compare this investigation to the baseball steroid investigation. The Mitchell Report, the Congressional hearings, the subpoenas, they are all legitimate. Remember, steroids by law is illegal. Using them, obtaining them, distributing them, all hold serious criminal charges. Baseball player or joe schmoe on the street corner, steroid use or sales will earn you jail time. The government has a right to be involved.

Last check, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have nothing that prohibits stealing signs. Does that make it right?No. Should the Pats be punished if evidence supports the fact they video-taped the Rams prior to the Super Bowl? Absolutely, and severely. Follow the NCAA lead, strip the lead, take the rings back. But, the NFL office, league owners, and Goodell, the President of this governing body, should preside over the decision, not the the US government.

Prior to the Super Bowl, Spector made the media rounds. Appearing on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, he compared stealing signs to stealing cars to justify the government involvement in this situation. Thankfully Mike Golic pulled no punches going right back at Spector after that ridiculous statement. Spector has also compared Goodell destroying the tapes to the CIA or FBI destroying critical files or evidence. He is way off base, to say the least. Spector stooped to the level of comparing the safety and possessions of the American people, and the world in a sense since he included FBI and CIA evidence, to a game. A game not everyone cares about.

Goodell destroying the tapes reeks of a cover-up. The owner’s all support Goodell’s decision to destroy the tapes – no surprise. The NFL is about brand protection, the last thing the league needed was a major scandal. Still, government intervention crosses the line. Goodell agreed to meet with Spector. We will see where the situation goes, forget the argument Congress should concern itself with more important issues – the war, the elections, poverty – the fact is they have no right to be involved here. Spygate and cheating are league issues, and should be dealt by that governing body, presided over by Roger Goodell. What’s next a Congressional hearing about the BCS vs. a playoff format?

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