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Sen. Arlen Specter to look into Spygate Scandal


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Senator wants to know why NFL destroyed Patriots spy tapes

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) wanted to hear the NFL's explanation for the purging of evidence in the infamous "Spygate" case involving the New England Patriots. He wrote commissioner Roger Goodell on Nov. 15. He got no response.

Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote Goodell again more than a month later, after getting no acknowledgment to the initial communication.

Two days before the Super Bowl, there is plenty of response.

In a phone interview Thursday with The New York Times, Specter said the committee at some point will call on Goodell to discuss why the league destroyed the tapes that revealed the Patriots had been spying on the competition.

"That requires an explanation," Specter told The Times. "The NFL 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 CIA destruction of tapes, or any time you have records destroyed."

An NFL spokesman told The Times that Specter's letters did not reach the league until late last week, and there was no mention of the letters on the occasions the two parties had communicated on other issues. Specter said his office had been told by the NFL that there would be no response until after Super Bowl XLII.

Spygate came to the forefront in September, when New York Jets security officials discovered a Patriots video assistant recording the Jets' defensive signals during the Sept. 9 game at Giants Stadium. The videocamera and tape were confiscated. Goodell also ordered the Patriots to turn over all videotape, notes and files involving taping of opponents' signals.

The Patriots got hit by the most severe penalty in NFL history -- coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the team was fined $250,000 and also will lose a first-round pick in the draft in April.

Subsequently, the league said it had destroyed the tapes after looking at them. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, in a September e-mail to ESPN.com, wrote that the reason for destroying them was "so that our clubs would know they no longer exist and cannot be used by anyone."

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

"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 ... 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," Specter said to The Times.

There is no timetable for when the committee would call upon Goodell, who has a previously scheduled news conference Friday morning in Phoenix.

The possibility exists that Patriots employees or other NFL personnel would have to testify before the committee.

"It's premature to say whom we're going to call or when," Specter said. "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."

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what is the congress doing getting involved in somthing that has broken no laws what so ever? I mean what do they think was on those tapes?? Its the Jets coaches giving signals? who gives a .......to me it sounds like hes just bitter because his Eagles lost to the Patriots in a superbowl a few years back.

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what is the congress doing getting involved in somthing that has broken no laws what so ever? I mean what do they think was on those tapes?? Its the Jets coaches giving signals? who gives a .......to me it sounds like hes just bitter because his Eagles lost to the Patriots in a superbowl a few years back.

Yeah, and...

A) He wants to know if the Patriots cheated to win that game, which helps him in his constituency and would really be news.

B) More important, he is challenging the power of an organization with an antitrust exemption. My hope is he uses this as a platform to challenge the Direct TV/NFL relationship. There was rumbling about him taking it on a couple of years ago but I haven't heard anything since. It's absurd that the FCC won't approve the Sirius/XM merger but they'll allow the NFL to get in bed with a pay television service to restrict access to its product.

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Rotoworld:

Senator Arlen Specter wants NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to explain why the league destroyed tapes from the Patriots spygate scandal.

Specter, the ranking republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Goodell would eventually be called before the committee, and that it was possible coaches and players could also have to testify. One person who might face the committee would be Matt Walsh, a Patriots employee between 1996-2003 who worked in the video department. "If I ever got brought in for a deposition or something, then I would just face the whole gauntlet of questions. There would be things I’d be forced to answer that some people haven’t taken responsibility for," Walsh said.

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I'm really glad every other friggin' problem in this country has been solved, that these IMBECILES in congress can concern themselves with juiced jocks and g.d. spygate...

We should impeach the whole lot of disgusting losers.

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I'm really glad every other friggin' problem in this country has been solved, that these IMBECILES in congress can concern themselves with juiced jocks and g.d. spygate...

We should impeach the whole lot of disgusting losers.

Absolutely Buff, isnt ridiculous man? So many problems that this country is deal with especially with the economy and these politicians are worried about a game 20 weeks ago. THey bring this up now, 2 days before the superbowl...someone wants the headlines on the news in my opinion. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics, maybe Coach Bill should stand up against these politicians because of what they promise and dont deliver, lol What a joke !!!

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Anyone care to see the letters between these two?

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0201/nfl_spectorltr.pdf

(Senator Spectre to Goodell)

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/0201/nfl_goodellltr.pdf

(Goodell to Spectre)

Goodell should have just told this guy to shove it. Regardless of what you think of the pats cheating, this guy is trying to stick his head in NFL business and say the most severe punishment ever levied on a coach/franchise in the modern era isn't enough for having a guy taping on the sideline, when we all know it easily could have been a camera in a wall or in the press box with a zoom. Not to mention he openly speculates that there is more to this then Goodell has let on, outright implying that the patriots cheated to win the superbowl against the Eagles years ago. This man deserves to be kicked out of office but I'm sure the PA voters will love him for 'standing up' for their Eagles...

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Dumb. Some guy that has a hard on for the eagles thinks hes gonna change the integrity of the game? Sure he's a senator and maybe I'm nieve but I dont think this whole thing is really an issue anymore. I think Goodell has a good handle on things. Find something better to do.

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Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed Friday that the NFL obtained six different tapes from the Patriots from the 2007 preseason and 2006 regular season.

Goodell says he's more than willing to meet with Congress, which is interested in knowing why tapes were destroyed. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) says he wants answers for the "good of the game." Goodell doesn't believe Spygate taints the Patriots' 2007 accomplishments, saying "what they did this season was certainly within the rules, on a level playing field."

from rotoworld

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I actually was wondering how this was 'swept under the rug' while destroying tapes and not explaining what was on them. Im glad its out.

I'm kind of interested too. 6 different tapes that weren't from the Jets game, plus am employee from the video department that leads on that there's more to the story that's been told has my interest. Sure Congress has no place in this, but who else is going to call them out? If they are going to drag out a steroid inquiry, then they might as well do it in football too.

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I'm kind of interested too. 6 different tapes that weren't from the Jets game, plus am employee from the video department that leads on that there's more to the story that's been told has my interest. Sure Congress has no place in this, but who else is going to call them out? If they are going to drag out a steroid inquiry, then they might as well do it in football too.

Time to get a life people.....this doesn't compare to years of steroid use....they were punished when the rule was broken......congress getting involved just proves how much of a disgrace this once glorious country is beginning to be. The downward spiral of the government continues......I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS STILL HAPPENING, WHAT ABOUT DUNGY'S COLLUSION AT THE END OF THE SEASON, WHAT ABOUT NBA REFS, WHAT ABOUT MANGINI FILMING WITHOUT PERMISSION AS WELL....THE SENATOR NEEDS TO GROW UP AND NOT BE MAKING DECISIONS BASED ON SOMETHING FUELED BY HATE IN A GAME, A FREAKIN GAME!!!!! ITS OVER!!

As far as all the people claiming that the Pats previous SB wins were only because they “cheated”, get a life. The rules were changed between the 2006 and 2007 seasons, so what was against the rules this season was not against the rules last season. What matters are ONLY actions that occurred after the rule change, not retroactively before the rule change.

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as far as the timing of this, it is a pure classless move by the senator.

Well, he is a philly fan...

And besides, I really don't care that they do it. Cheating is something done across the whole NFL, and when they catch the team doing it, they punish them. They couldn't prove colts pump sound, but they do it. Jets simulate snap count. Washington cheats the salary cap. How many teams out there tamper with another team by talking to coaches/players/staff without permission? Lets not forget the Patriots started doing this because the dolphins did it to them last season and shut em out 21-0. Course, in that situation, the dolphins actually stole the defensive audibles as well so when there were adjustments, they still knew what was going on. The focus is and rightfully so on the patriots because they are the team that dominates this era and thus an example has been made of them. But this Spectre guy coming out and making barely veiled accusations that the patriots super bowl win years ago was a result of cheating is absurd. Spectre has no place questioning what has already been dealt with effectively, and really there is no other reason for him doing this other than trying to gain exposure.

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this is not a good move for congress. this was a one and done deal. every team has done this at some point. the patriots got caught only because eric mangini will do whatever he can to hurt billichek. but there was nobody lieing. and besides, the tapes could have been eliminated to ensure nobody tries to steal them! anybody think about that? congress just wants to look good that they are trying to clean up sports, and whoever is leading this investigation just wants to get the same publicity that the steroid scandal in baseball got. either that or the guy leading this hates the patriots. maybe mangini paid congress to try to ruin the patriots more. who knows. any of these could be reasons, no matter how far fetched or weird they are, just because this is just such a dumb investigation

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I have a better idea....

Let's try and look into how we can get gas prices to a reasonable level for most Americans!

This crap drives me nuts.

Unless the Patriots were somehow videotaping signals and relaying them to terrorists, who the hell cares?

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If they are going to drag out a steroid inquiry, then they might as well do it in football too.

Apples and Oranges Bro. Possesing or distributing steriods is a criminal act and is against the laws of the United States, therefore Congress does have jurisdiction in investigating their use in professional sports. There are no laws against videotaping a team's sideline. This is not a criminal act and the fact that a Senator wants to hold a hearing on this with all of the problems that this country is facing is an absolute joke.

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Time to get a life people.....this doesn't compare to years of steroid use....they were punished when the rule was broken......congress getting involved just proves how much of a disgrace this once glorious country is beginning to be. The downward spiral of the government continues......I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS STILL HAPPENING, WHAT ABOUT DUNGY'S COLLUSION AT THE END OF THE SEASON, WHAT ABOUT NBA REFS, WHAT ABOUT MANGINI FILMING WITHOUT PERMISSION AS WELL....THE SENATOR NEEDS TO GROW UP AND NOT BE MAKING DECISIONS BASED ON SOMETHING FUELED BY HATE IN A GAME, A FREAKIN GAME!!!!! ITS OVER!!

As far as all the people claiming that the Pats previous SB wins were only because they "cheated", get a life. The rules were changed between the 2006 and 2007 seasons, so what was against the rules this season was not against the rules last season. What matters are ONLY actions that occurred after the rule change, not retroactively before the rule change.

That's completely false. The NFL sent out a memo re-enforcing the rules on the subject between the seasons. They DID NOT change the rules. It was illegal the entire time.

As for the Mangini thing, what he did was ruled to be completely within NFL rules. Apples and Oranges.

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while i believe roger g punished the patriots completely wrong, still it is over and done with, lets move on.

for anyone that is caught cheating (aka substance abuse), they are suspended for 4 games. i think wade philips even got the hook for 4 games for his steroid use, even though how the hell are steroids going to help a coach win a football game? but fine. why didn't coach b be suspended 4 games? it would have affected THIS season, and would have made more sense.

regardless, they got caught, fined, lost a pick, why try to ruin the superbowl with this? this senator is just getting himself some free pub and try to tarnish the greatest season ever (while i would disagree that they are the greatest team ever, but they will have the perfect season to show for the greatest season ever...the super bowl bears would definetly beat this year's patriots, having the greatest defense of all time (honorable mentions in great d: 2001 ravens and 2003 bucs), being that he is still bitter about the eagles losing in the super bowl

this is such a shamockery

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of course congress should be involved - the NFL is one of the biggest monopolies in the nation, and congress allows it, but only because they have the power to have hearings like this. who is going to police the NFL if not congress?

if you don't want congress involved in this, then you shouldn't be whining that the nfl sunday ticket package is only available on directv, you should just accept that the nfl is a huge monopoly that answers to nobody.

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