Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Real Scandal

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is on the trail of a really big scandal that could have a major impact on a number of contests this fall.

After meeting with a former New England Patriots employee who helped the team spy on opponents, Senator Arlen Specter on Wednesday described the team’s illicit videotaping tactics as more systematic and deliberate than what the N.F.L. has acknowledged publicly.

Mr. Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said the former employee, Matt Walsh, described elaborate measures by the Patriots to conceal their filming of opponents’ signals. Mr. Walsh also explained how the Patriots’ coaching staff gleaned strategic information from members of the team’s video crew who had watched the St. Louis Rams’ walk-through practice before the 2002 Super Bowl.

He also identified more games and opponents that were filmed by the Patriots and detailed the advantages the team gained in later games.

Mr. Specter, a longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan, has battled with the N.F.L. on several issues over the years. This time, with his continued criticism of the league’s investigation into the Patriots, he is raising questions about the legitimacy of the Patriots’ accomplishments — which include three Super Bowl titles this decade, one against the Eagles, and an 18-0 record last season before a loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl.

Mr. Specter said the league should initiate an inquiry like the one commissioned by Major League Baseball to explore the use of performance-enhancing drugs in that sport. “They owe the public a lot more candor and a lot more credibility,” Mr. Specter said.

Okay, investigating steroids in baseball is one thing; those are drugs that kill people — or worse, make their balls shrivel. But surreptitious video taping?

Your tax dollars at work.