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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Everyone does it..."

The apologists are out in full force this morning after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell lowered the boom on Bill Belichick.

"Everybody does it" or worse yet, "they did it before and no one cared" seems to be the most common reaction in Patriots Nation to the word that Genius Coach Bill Belichick got caught with his camera exposed to the tune of $750,000 and draft choices when all the dust clears.

So I decided to take a sample of opinion from elsewhere.

There's nary a word in Cleveland, where Belichick was anything but a genius.

The New York Times offers hints on covert spying techniques to avoid the wrath of Roger next time. The disapproval expressed by William Rhoden (sub. required) needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, Belichick's cheating was exposed by the Jets -- who he jilted in another moment of honor and whose disciple, Eric Mangini, was in a perfect position to know his ex-boss' bag of dirty tricks.

So let's turn to the shy-and-retiring Michael Wilbon, a seemingly neutral party.

Goodell should have sat Belichick for a game, should have flexed like he has with the players and dished out a punishment that would serve as a deterrent. This isn't, and it's disappointing in the context of his get-tough commissionership.

There's not much of a case to be made on behalf of leniency for the Patriots. The New York Jets' veteran director of security, a former FBI agent, caught them with the unethically obtained videotape. Belichick already has issued one of those phony celebrity apologies that tries to mitigate the circumstances. In another place and time, Belichick probably would have gotten off with a frown and a scolding.

So Patriots Nation, the question is this: is winning really at that important that we can discount the fact that some people who actually looked up to the man and team are genuinely disappointed?

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