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Article:Spygate and the Media

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Throughout the entire NFL season, the major story pounded into the ground by the Media was the New England Patriots and Spygate. Many members of the Media, special to ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook as TMQ among the loudest, called for Bill Belichick to explain what happened. Yes, the steepest fine in the history of the National Football League will cause quite a stir, but many people were not happy with Belichick’s quick statement that it was a “misinterpretation of the rule”, and the story continued to be told almost daily as a simple regurgitation of information with nothing new for months.

On February 18th the Boston Globe ran a story with Belichick finally answering questions about the scandal. Here’s an excerpt from the article :

“The rule states: “Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game”

Belichick felt the Patriots' actions were in compliance with NFL rules, saying, "My interpretation was that you can't utilize anything to assist you during that game. What our camera guys do is clearly not allowed to be used during the game and has never been used during that game that it was shot.” ”

Throughout the entire season members of the Media questioned how Belichick, not only one of the greatest minds in football but one of the game’s greatest studiers, wouldn’t know the rule. Those members of the Media were also quick to point out Belichick was a known winner, and willing to get every advantage possible.

Do I believe Bill Belichick that this was his interpretation of the rule? In so many words, yes. I believe it is much more likely that he felt that way, as opposed to blatantly cheating and then going back into the rule looking for a potential loophole, only to find a pretty nice explanation waiting for him. However, what I really think happened, is that he read the rule, and said “We can use this”. Like a clever lawyer he read, and re-read the rule, manipulating the words and determining there was a gray area, a gray area he decided to exploit. Does this make it okay? Sure. You do whatever you can within the rules of the game that gives your team the best advantage. If taking the most time to study the most film gave the Patriots an advantage during this or any other season, then congratulations Patriots.

The Boston Globe, one of the most circulated newspapers in the United States (in or near the top 10 depending on the data) ran this story, and it was barely a blip on the radar. There were no articles on ESPN about this new development in the story, no opinions to be spread this time. The story was pounded into us for the better part of 5 months, and now all the Media has asked for is there, but this time there’s no whistle blowers, no one to jump on board, simply because the public is tired of the story. The Media took a hot story, shoved it down our throats, then turned away when the first interesting development in 5 months happened.

Not surprisingly many members of the Media are still writing stories about Matt Walsh, the man who claims to have physical evidence that proves the Patriots cheated, eventhough he can't show anyone or even tell anyone what the evidence is. That’s the thing about the Media, they love a good scandal.

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