Friday, February 15, 2008

Arlen Specter and Spygate, again:

Arlen Specter finally had his big meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. [Inquirer] Things didn't go too well it seems, both of them came out of the meeting with totally different accounts of what happened. At an impromptu press conference after the meeting, Goodell said he hoped the Senator understood "the facts better now." According to Goodell, he told Specter that Bill Belichick claimed he didn't know it was illegal to use the tapes while the game was in progress. That, apparently, was good enough for Goodell. (Don't you wish Goodell was the cop who pulled you over for speeding and all you had to say was you didn't know the speed limit?) Specter, later on, after rushing off to the Judiciary Committee to cast his vote for torture, said that he didn't actually understand the facts better now.

He still wants to know why the League punished the Patriots five days before they even received the tapes or any documentation on the incident involving the Jets and then swiftly destroyed said evidence. At his press conference, after his vote for torture, Specter laughed, according to the Inquirer, when told of Goodell's explanation that the NFL didn't have a vault to store the tapes. Specter, a former Philly prosecutor, said, "If there's an admission of guilt, you always protect the evidence."

Goodell says the Spygate case is closed, unless new evidence is produced (which they'll doubtless destroy as soon as they get it.) When asked whether there would be any further investigation Goodell replied, "We're not following up, the Senator is."

I hope he does, because one of the juicy tidbits that came out of the meeting was that Bellichick had been taping other teams since 2000 and Patriot employees had been thrown out of games in Detroit and Green Bay in 2006. (If you see one roach, that means there's a thousand behind the wall.) Specter, as advertised, asked Goodell if there was any evidence the Patriots taped the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, and Goodell said there wasn't (though, if there was he would have destroyed it!). Specter was skeptical saying that "They had played earlier in the preseason, so the opportunity [for cheating] was present. But Commissioner Goodell said there wasn't." Specter added, that information obtained by his office indicated information taken from taping could be transmitted to the QBs helmet during games. Well, duh!

I don't get the point Specter was trying to make about the preseason meeting. What barring at all would that have on the Super Bowl? Teams don't show anything in preseason, they use standard plays anyone could figure out.

In any event, the issue of former Patriot's employee and film buff Matt Walsh came up and Specter urged the League to give him immunity from possible criminal prosecution to tell all he knows. (Man, the Republicans are all about immunity these days!) There is no indication Goodell is going to go along with that, according to this latest Inquirer article.

As mentioned above, Specter had to cut the meeting short to run over to the Senate to vote to against a bill that would ban all "enhanced" interrogation techniques employed by the CIA and limit such techniques to those authorized in the Army Field Manual. The bill passed 51-45, despite Specter's and John McCain's best efforts. Here's a weird one, McCain, the victim of much torture, said there was no contradiction in his vote. "We always supported the CIA to use extra measures. I believe waterboarding is illegal and should be banned." What the hell does that mean? Are we sure McCain's elevator still goes to the top floor? That sounds just loopy.

Extra note:

Although, the article I'm quoting from is taken form the NYT news wire (the Inquirer fired most of their news staff and can't report their own stories anymore), the editors apparently stuck this little bit into the piece: "All Philadelphia-based senators voted for it, except for Arlen Specter, who voted no."

All Philadelphia-based senators? There's only one from Philly and that's Specter, and Pennsylvania, like most states only has two senators, so what the hell does that mean? This kind of crack reporting is what we're now paying $.75 for?


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