I should preface all of this by re-stating, as I tend to do when Congress decides to intrude upon professional sport, that the legislative body does have the right to request these things, as far as MLB and the NFL go. These leagues have asked for and received anti-trust exemptions that provide them with a giant leg up.
That said, I wish Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) would find something better to do with his time as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee than demand an explanation and threaten possible hearings involving Roger Goodell and the NFL over the Patriots’ taping scandal (I refuse to call it “Spygate” for linguistic and historical reasons.)
“It’s the same old story,” Mr. Specter said. “What you did is never as important as the cover-up. This sequence raises more concerns and doubts.”
When Mr. Specter was asked if he could envision a situation in which employees of the Patriots or the N.F.L. were called to testify before the committee, he said he wanted to take the investigation “one step at a time.”
“It could,” Mr. Specter said. “It’s premature to say whom we’re going to call or when. It starts with the commissioner. He had the tapes, and he made the decision as to what the punishment could be. He made the decision to destroy them.”
The interesting part of the NYT piece is the very terse talk with a former member of the Patriots’ video staff, who has a confidentiality agreement with the team. I have been one of those folks who thinks that the taping is probably a tempest in a teapot — but I don’t disagree with Specter that the tapes’ destruction was a questionable step for Goodell and the league. However, I don’t think the senator should be spending all that much time on this — the Judiciary Committee has much, much bigger issues of actual political importance to the country. Hopefully Specter’s request doesn’t turn into a full-blown hearing.