Goodell fumbles the call on Belichick penalty
The gnashing of teeth and screaming of talk radio callers regarding "VideoGate" with the New England Patriots will surely die down in the weeks to come.
But, the lasting perception of the "penalty" given by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of most fans.
Belichick got off too light, and everybody knows it. Even Goodell knows it.
How did this happen?
Because in his official statement of the fine and docking of a draft pick, Goodell brought up the dreaded "S-word" -- SUSPENSION -- and explained why he did not deliver one.
"I specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick," Goodell wrote in a letter to the team. "I have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension."
Anytime you have to explain it, you know you have just weaseled out of doing what was necessary.
The real impact of Goodell's punishment is as follows:
The No. 1 pick will be a low first-rounder, possibly the very last. Meanwhile, the Patriots have the Niners' No. 1, which is part of the reason they got so good in the first place. Impact: No worse than 50-Cent totaling one of his sports cars.
The maximum fine of $500,000 to Belichick represents a mere 12 percent of his take- home pay from the Patriots this year ($4.3 million). In real "you and me" terms, it would be like a guy making $50,000 getting clipped about $6,000.
In other words, it would be like making him take his entire family to Disneyland for the week -- only he would get to stay home -- so I'm not sure that's even punishment.
But I do know who IS really pissed about Belichick's fine -- his grandkids! I bet the first thing Bill said when he heard it was something like: "Well, there's $250,000 less to give to that bitch ex-wife of mine!"
Meanwhile, the rest of the league is steamed. Tony Dungy raised the whole "Barry Bonds" comparison regarding cheating. Wade Wilson plans to write a letter. Every vanquished Super Bowl opponent is starting to squeal.
And don't even get me started with what most fans think. Never before in sports talk radio have I sat in front of a microphone and taken such an unbroken string of calls where all the opinion fell on basically one side: "What a joke!"
What Goodell's wimp-out has done is fracture league opinion on fairness and leave open the festering wound of the Patriots original video skullduggery. If he was hoping to "close the book" on it all, he failed.
At first, Goodell even went as far as to say there was no ongoing "investigation" into what the Patriots had done. Really? Nothing? You don't want to call Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former Belichick assistant who blew the whistle on the operation?
I would have raided the Patriots team complex with guns drawn if needed. Hell, they did it for Elian Gonzales, I would sure like to get a hold of some hard drives, videotapes and documents.
Unless you didn't WANT to know, which, it's quite apparent, Goodell did not. He knows the Pats are the league's current bell cow. He knows that an ongoing probe would make the league look as shady as a Tim Donaghy reffed pick-up game. He knows that once you start digging, the dirt may never end.
It wasn't until two days later, that reports leaked out that the Commish has strengthened his meek stance by asking for the Pats to turn over any previously ill-gotten tapes and materials.
I'm gonna bet most of those have either been through the shredder, or taped over with "Saved By The Bell" reruns.
Belichick himself proved as slimy as always. He promised "further comment" once the league issued its ruling. Instead, he gave reporters the ol' Drew Rosenhaus: "Next question." He didn't even have the courage to get in front of the cameras to issue a statement or apology that might be used in future "Beyond the Glory" retrospectives as a damning sound bite. Instead, Bill the Mumbler hid behind a prepared statement which included the ludicrous insinuation that his blatant cheating in Week 1 was possibly just a "misinterpretation of league guidelines."
A one-week suspension was a no-brainer, but the Commish got cold feet. After a full year as new Sherriff In Town, this was a joke. "Making it Rain" in a strip club will not tilt a Super Bowl slightly in favor of one team more than sneaky video techs on the sideline. Fighting dogs won't make the average ticket buyer wonder: "Is everything on the up and up?"
But, the message has been sent from on high: "Move along people. Nothing to see here."
The coat hanger/hoodie comment was pretty good. I know that this comment will never be read. This is a dead thread. What's happened to the Talkback these days? Nobody wants to participate any more. At least it isn't another golf article. So it's onto new topics; Two's comment to his fine; big deal. If Two wants to keep up with Chad, he's gonna have to jump into the Dog Pound and let them pull him into the stands and blugeon him with dog bones and drown him in beer backwash. McNabb's comment; I have no problem with it. To Donovan's credit, I only saw one play on the highlights; his receiver (or tight end or whatever) ran a stupid route and they lost the game because of it; not McNabb's fault. Who will be 3-0 come next week?
Czabe, when thinking about how to compare enormous fines levied against an enormous salary to the average guy, I think it is more accurate to think in terms of disposable income. the average guy that makes $50,000 grand could not easily survive a $6,000 hit. He has $40 in his pocket as "fun money" that his wife would not miss if he lost a friendly wager. Much more than that means his car payment is late. The $500,000 is money Belicheat would never spend anyway. An empty hoodie on a hanger on the sideline would have been better.
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