Add another cheater to the list
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
What has happened to the integrity and honesty in professional sports?
Baseball players can’t hit home runs without the assistance of human growth hormone.
A NBA official bets on the the basketball games he officiated.
Stock car drivers routinely flaunt rules regarding specifications under their hoods.
Hockey players use longer stick blades than the rules allow so they can generate more accurate and harder shots.
Pick a professional sport and there is likely to be some sort of cheating associated with it.
This week the culprit is New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick and his coaching staff. The NFL began investigating the Patriots after NFL security confiscated a video camera and video from a Patriots’ video assistant while he was working the Jets’ sideline last Sunday. Rumor has it that the Patriots were taping the Jets’ coaches signaling directions to their defense.
Considering the lineup of stars the Patriots trotted onto the field last Sunday, it seems proposterous that they would need to cheat to win – which they did in a cakewalk 38-14.
My best guess is that Belichick wanted to embarrass his former assistant Eric Mangini, and the only way to do that was to cheat.
Since the Patriots reportedly have cheated once, people are curious to know how many times they have gotten away it. I was flabbergasted in 2002 when the Patriots upset the “Greatest Show on Turf” 20-17 in the Super Bowl XXXVI. If you recall, the Rams were a two-touchdown favorite that year. And as a Colts’ fan, I was curious why Peyton Manning was unable to win a playoff game against Belichick until last year. Raider fans probably would like to have a certain game played in the snow reversed as well.
On Thursday afternoon, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000, while the Patriots were slapped for $250,000.
The ruling is disappointing since the maximum fine was imposed for Belichick, indicating that the Patriots did cheat. A suspension of Belichick and a forfeit of Sunday’s win would have made a better statement about upholding the integrity of the game.
The decision counters the good that commissioner Roger Goodell has done with troubled players. Players are being held more accountable for their off-field transgressions, and some such as Ricky Williams and Michael Vick may never play another down in the league.
Apparently coaches, especially a high-profile one like Belichick, are above the “law.”
– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or email@example.com.