I am a Patriots fan. Not going to lie, I love me them Pats. But this, this is flipping nuts.
Gregg Easterbrook, famed moralist and one-time anti-Semite, has gotten more miles out of Spygate than any other writer by far. Here's his latest.
You're sick of Spygate.
I'm sick of Spygate.
Nice try. You are not.
The reason Spygate keeps dragging on is because the guilty party -- New England coach Bill Belichick -- has not been punished in any meaningful way.
I am pretty sure this is dragging on because of guys like you - the media. The season hasn't started yet, T.O. hasn't murdered anyone, Tony Romo hasn't bedded another starlet and there is a general shortage of traffic-spiking topics to write about. So dig up an old one!
And the half million dollar (steepest in NFL history) fine and first round pick weren't meaningful?
Belichick cheated and lied, and so far has gotten away nearly scot-free.
Again, a huge monetary fine and docking a pick that directly makes the team worse is meaningless.
A man of dignity, who is caught cheating, would resign.
Any self-respecting man who wrote an anti-Jewish rant based on a foolish stereotype would have retired from writing.
Those who also must retire immediately, regardless of punishment:
base runners who steal signs
offensive lineman who poke someone in the eyes or steps on other's feet
any basketball player who travels
any coach that runs a trick play
baseball players who use corked bats or HGH
"Cheaters! Cheaters!" crowds will chant next fall when New England takes the field, if the cheater Belichick is still running the show.
So Easterbrook is making decisions based on fan chants? Well then, Tom Brady must really suck after all.
The way to stop that, and bring Spygate to a close, is to suspend the person responsible.
And here we have the crux of the argument, the point of this article. Suspend Belicheat. First of all, I would be amazed if this happens for a few reasons.
First, the people love a villain. Those Jets fans need something to boo while they get beat 56-7. And think of the networks! What would Fox do if they couldn't show hundereds shots of The Coach That Shall Not Be Named on the sideline while postulating about "the integrity of the game?"
Secondly, the sentence has already been issued. Half a million dollars and a first round pick. I don't think the NFL will add another penalty:
Commish: "Oh, and by the way, Coach is suspended for an entire season."
Kraft: "Wait, didn't we already get punished?"
Commish: "Uhh it wasn't enough. We read Easterbrook's column and we really think this is the right decision."
The $500,000 fine assessed against Belichick is a token sanction at his income level.
Oh, I didn't know fines were based on income level and not severity of offense - this being the most severe fine ever.
Note to scrub defensive backs: Clothesline the HELL out of receivers because, hey, you'll only get fined like $100 in Easterbrook's world.
Suspending Belichick for at least a year would constitute a serious penalty where none has been imposed so far, and show pro football is serious about integrity.
Italics by me. That line is an absolute joke. I don't even want to form sentences about this, so here's a quick list of things that are infinitely more dangerous to the NFL's "integrity":
retired player benefits
the Cincinnati Bengals
NFL/college recruitment tampering
I also love the foreshadowing of "at least a year." What are you up to Easterbrook?
Goodell has contended any benefits the Patriots derived were minor at most.
But why would the Patriots clandestinely break a rule for eight years, engaging risk, if they never obtained any benefit?
Because coaches are paranoid freaks. Have you seen them cover their lips as they call out plays? If you told them casting bones in between plays would cause the other team to fumble on their next possession, they would all do it.
They weren't making a PBS documentary!
This goes on for like 15,000 words. But the end is pretty amazing.
What is necessary is a serious suspension for Belichick. Suspension for a season would actually be a mild penalty.
Mild: "gentle or moderate in force or effect."
This isn't tossing Lou Pinella from a Cubs game for arguing. NFL coaches do so much in-game that this would guarantee a significant swing in the win/loss column for the Patriots. Want to suspend him for a game? Sure, I guess I can agree with that. Even three games. But a full season is mild?
Belichick's lack of remorse creates an argument for a lifetime ban. Why should the 99 percent of NFL players, coaches and front-office officials who are honest sportsmen be tarred by association with a few who are not?
You are really really clueless aren't you Easterbrook? You're telling me, in all your infinite NFL wisdom, that 99 percent of those in the NFL are "honest sportsmen?" No other coach is filming other teams to get an edge? No other player tries to mess up the QB's snap count to get a jump? Not a single linemen spits, claws and pokes in the trenches? And you, Gregg Easterbrook, know this for an iron-clad fact?
You really are looking at the NFL wearing some glasses with a deep, reddish, even rosy-colored hue, aren't you?
And this footnote kills me:
Footnote: In Friday's Washington Post, NFL reporter Mark Maske quotes former Giants quarterback Phil Simms contending that stolen signals are no guarantee of victory: "'I've been in games where we knew every signal, every call by the other team, and we still lost,' Simms said by telephone yesterday. 'We [the Giants] had the San Diego Chargers' signals in 1980. We knew every signal. We knew every play. We were calling out what they were going to do: 'Here comes this. Here comes that.' They still scored 44 points.'" After more Simms quotes, the article moved to other matters.
Who was on the New York Giants' coaching staff in 1980? Bill Belichick and Ernie Adams.
No way they learned that from anyone else. Belichick, as the linebackers coach (must've forgotten that detail in the footnote), brought his four long years of cheating history to the Giants, convinced them that this was the way to do things, and got the head coach to steal every call from the Chargers - which, according to the team's QB, did nothing.
Suspending Belichick would be a fitting last chapter to Spygate, bringing the matter to a close. Unless, of course, you would prefer that Spygate go on and on and on.
Who would want that? Certainly not someone who's last eight articles consisted of three Spygate-based ones...