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Senator Specter on the Patriots cheating scandal: "There might be hearings"

Senator Specter on the Patriots cheating scandal: "There might be hearings" While the football teams are gearing up for the next season, there might be some extra work for the New England Patriots, even a Congressional hearing related to the cheating scandal dubbed "Spygate". Senator Arlen Specter (Rep. - Penn), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday that "it’s up to Congress to investigate and take corrective action; there might be hearings," if the NFL does not conduct an investigation into the videotaping scandal involving the New England Patriots. The renewed interest in the spying case stems from a meeting with Matt Walsh, a former New England Patriots employee, who helped the team spy on opponents, dating as far back as 2000. Matt Walsh, who worked for the Patriots from 1997 to 2003, provided the league with eight videotapes from 2000 to 2002 and described the Patriots illicit videotaping tactics as more systematic and deliberate than what the NFL has acknowledged publicly. Mr. Walsh pointed to a long list of football games where the Patriots have taken advantage through videotaping their opponents' signals and walk-through practices, including the 2002 Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams, a game New England won 20-17 with the Rams a big favorite. Even though a tape of the alleged Rams spying was not available, which led to an apology by the Boston Herald, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that Mr. Walsh had been at the walk-through, along with the rest of the Patriots’ video crew. Also, a league lawyer clarified that Matt Walsh had seen Rams running back Marshall Faulk lining up as a kick returner, and some of the Rams’ offensive formations

 Roger Goodell has said that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick admitted to "misinterpreting" league rules on videotaping, which probably dates to the beginning of his tenure in New England in 2000, but Sen. Specter said that information was not made public until he met with the commissioner in February. The Pennsylvania Senator is calling for an inquiry into to cheating scandal, similar to the one commissioned by Major League Baseball to explore the use of performance-enhancing drugs in that sport. Senator Arlen Specter is also calling for an independent investigation, pointing to the fact that no one has been accused of criminal behavior in the Patriots cheating scandal. "We respectfully disagree with Senator Specter’s characterization of the investigation conducted by our office. We are following up," was the short statement by the NFL issued in response to the Senator's comments.

 Despite the publicity surrounding the New England Patriots, the team remains the ultimate favorite to win the 2009 Super Bowl among the odds makers. At the online bookmaker BodogSports, the Patriots are now 10/3 to win the next Super Bowl, followed by the long odds on the Indianapolis Colts at 15/2.

 Published on 05/15/2008

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