Incidents like Bill Belichick’s doofy surveillance routine bring out the worst in sportswriters. Either they start writing leads to otherwise inoffensive columns in the second person — who is you, Jackie MacMullan, Jay McInerney? — or they scramble to stake out an untenable tough guy position, a la the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers. Myers makes a good point about the relative unfairness of Wade Wilson’s five-game suspension for ordering off Gary Matthews Jr.’s menu (an act which, however odd and illegal, presumably didn’t give his team any football-related advantage) in comparison with Belichick’s punishment. But this stuff:
Nothing would crush the Patriots more than losing Belichick from Monday to Sunday, even if it was for just one week and one game. Goodell should have barred him from meetings and practices, all interaction with the team and no telephone communication with his assistants, and then kept him off the sidelines for the second Jets game.
It would have been a powerful statement by Goodell that nobody is more important than the integrity of the game, especially because there are strong indications Belichick has been spying for years – this was just the first time he was caught. Goodell has done a fine job protecting the game. It’s an important part of his job description. He just stopped one very important step short of hitting a home run here.
Belichick’s reputation may be forever tarnished and the accomplishment of winning three Super Bowls in four years may deserve an asterisk. Goodell should have sat him down. He has been a tough guy with Michael Vick, Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson and rightfully so. They got what they deserved…
He should have fined him, taken away the picks and suspended him, a virtual trifecta.
…Doesn’t quite move me. Even by the meatheadedly authoritarian standards of NFL discourse, getting excited when a commissioner “crushes” someone is pretty corny, and complaining that stripping the Pats of a first-round pick doesn’t do enough because they have another pick — as Myers does — compromises the appearance of objectivity somewhat. But Gary Myers is Gary Myers. I only read that column because today’s Daily News has some ridiculous “Belichick Gets Off Easy” headline. But you see the headline on this post. You know what time it is. If the L’Affaire Belichick plays to sportswriters’ worst tendencies, it is tailor made for Bill Simmons, who at this point in his career is basically a collection of bad tendencies that has gained the ability to wear khakis. Sports Bro says:
I did think The Turncoat (aka Eric Mangini) should have been fined for blowing the whistle on Belichick and then inexplicably shaking his hand afterward. Stick to your guns, Mr. Mangineous. If you’re going to sell out your old boss during the game, what better way to show your disgust than eschewing the postgame handshake and just walking off the field? What’s the point of shaking hands? Hey, great game, congrats on the win. … By the way, I ratted you out in the first quarter, sorry about that. My dad was more outraged about that two-faced move than anything since the Doc Rivers extension.
That reminds me, everyone’s talking about the other teams and implying they were the victims. What about Pats fans? How did we deserve this? Our favorite team cheated, we lost a No. 1 pick, our coach pulled the football version of the Watergate break-in, our entire mini-dynasty has been tainted according to the outside world. … Seriously, what did we ever do other than support a perpetually crappy franchise with a bad stadium for years and years and years? Do you think we wanted any of this to happen? All week, I almost felt like I did something wrong just because I rooted for these guys. Well, no more. Call them cheaters, call them villains, call them the evil empire, but it’s still my team.
Bold, as expected. I totally expected him to turn his back on his
schtick team over this one. If he ever shows up on Cold Pizza again, I hope he rocks a Stop Snitching t-shirt to show his disgust with Mangini’s “ratting.” Later in the column, Simmons also reveals that his fantasy football team is named “Meat Curtains.” Kuh-lassic!