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Old 02-23-2008, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

Specter irked by uncooperative Pats, league in Spygate probe
By Mike Fish
ESPN.com
Updated: February 22, 2008

Frustrated at the obstacles confronting his investigation of "Spygate," Sen. Arlen Specter accused the New England Patriots of "stonewalling" on Friday and suggested the NFL might never get around to questioning key witness Matt Walsh, a former Patriots video assistant.

Specter's comments are in stark contrast to remarks on Wednesday from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who told reporters that the NFL was moving toward an agreement that would allow Walsh to tell what he knows about the Patriots' spying practices without fear of being sued.

Sen. Arlen Specter says he would like to be present if the NFL ever questions Matt Walsh, a former Patriots video assistant.
"My suspicion is that they're going to put enough conditions on it so that he won't talk," Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, told ESPN.com. "If they had wanted Walsh to talk, it would have been done a long time ago. They are not helped by keeping him on ice, unless they intend to [permanently] keep him on ice."

If the league gains Walsh's cooperation, Specter said he wants to be present when Walsh is questioned "because a witness' testimony can be shaded or molded by who questions him first.''

Walsh, employed by the Patriots from 1996 to 2003, has suggested that he has information, perhaps even materials, about the Patriots' video practices that could be potentially damaging.

His attorney, Michael Levy, forwarded a proposal to the NFL's outside counsel seeking full indemnification for Walsh on Feb. 14. Levy, as well as Specter, maintained that the league's initial proposal failed to protect Walsh against the possibility of being sued, and said it also required that he turn over any materials or evidence.

"They haven't taken the steps to get Walsh to come forward," Specter said. "They have the key."

Late Friday afternoon, NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said the league respectfully disagrees with Specter.

"We have offered Mr. Walsh's attorney assurances that are fully responsive to his concerns," Aiello said. "And we have not heard back from him. ... We very much want to speak to [Walsh]."

As of Friday night, however, the league and Walsh's attorney had not reached an agreement.

An attorney for the Patriots told ESPN.com that Walsh did not have a confidentiality agreement with the franchise or anything else that might prevent his cooperation.

Specter painted a much starker, more contentious picture than the one presented by the league and the Patriots. He said both the Patriots and New York Jets have refused to cooperate with his investigation.

Specter told ESPN.com that his staff has been rebuffed in its efforts to interview Patriots personnel about the team's videotaping practices. The Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to say who, specifically, he wanted to talk to, but the list presumably includes head coach Bill Belichick, his longtime assistant Ernie Adams and members of the team's video department.

"My staff has been stonewalled on that," Specter said.

After his staff made phone contact with some individuals connected to the team, Specter said they were referred to the Patriots' outside legal counsel, who rejected a request for cooperation. Daniel L. Goldberg, who represents the Patriots and also the Boston Red Sox, said that in all cases, the individuals had been previously interviewed at least once -- and in some instances twice -- by the league.

Goldberg refused to identify those individuals.

"Sen. Specter's office had called me as counsel to the Patriots to ask to interview several Patriots employees," said Goldberg, attorney with the Boston firm of Bingham and McCutchen. "I was told that the inquiry was with respect to signal-taping. And as I explained to the Senator's office, we regard this as a league matter. As such, we have fully cooperated with the league's investigation."

Asked to respond to Specter's accusation that the Patriots have stonewalled his requests for information, Goldberg said, "You look at it from our perspective. Who is the right forum for an inquiry into a matter like this? We regard this as a league matter. It deals with league rules, league enforcement."

But Specter, a one-time district attorney in Philadelphia, didn't react favorably to the Patriots' responses to his investigators.

"Well, I think that it is somewhere between absurd to insulting that they won't let us talk to the witnesses," Specter said. "Whoever heard of not being able to talk to someone because it is hearsay back from somebody else who talked to them. You have to question hearsay and reliability. I'm not prepared to accept what somebody else says these key witnesses say. What kind of an inquiry would it be if we accepted what somebody else tells us what was said?"

Specter's investigators also have been rebuffed in their efforts to seek access to members of the Jets' coaching staff. During the season-opening game last September at New York, the Patriots were caught taping defensive signals being sent in from the Jets' sideline. The Jets' staff is of key interest in the Spygate affair because several members, including Jets head coach Eric Mangini, worked under Belichick in New England.

"Our firm was engaged to represent certain employees of the New York Jets in connection with a request for information from Sen. Specter," Jets outside legal counsel Scott Michel said in an e-mail to ESPN.com on Friday night. "Our clients have not spoken to the senator or his staff and at this time have no plans to do so."

Specter said Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard, a one-time backup to Tom Brady with the Patriots, refused to speak with him, too, during a personal phone call the Senator placed to Huard last Friday.

"I talked to him, and he wouldn't talk," Specter said. "I didn't go through a secretary, and he doubted that it was Arlen Specter. Maybe that is why he wouldn't talk. I don't sound much like Arlen Specter."

Specter said it is only because of outside pressure that the NFL has offered up additional information related to the Patriots' taping history. Specter explained: "To get a concession from the commissioner that it goes back to the year 2000. To get a concession that they had notes. Originally, we were only told about videos, and they only went back a half-dozen games in '06. Originally, we weren't told that the notes included the [Pittsburgh] Steelers."

Specter said he is aware of what appears to be a united league-wide front supporting Goodell's handling of the taping controversy. That support was echoed Thursday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis by members of the league's powerful Competition Committee, who told reporters they believe the issue should be put to rest.

"Well, I don't want to pick a fight with everybody in the world, like all the owners," Specter said. "But they are functioning from talking points -- 'We're satisfied with the investigation.' 'Oh yes, the penalty was sufficient.' 'Oh, let's put this behind us.' 'Let's move on.'

"You have heard everyone say the same thing."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3259486
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

The more I read the more it seems the NFL is taking the the same smug approach that the patsies did when this first broke. "Who is Specter to investigate us. We're the NFL and we govern ourselves"

Hey Roger, you're about to find out what its like to have a Senate oversight committee so far up your azz that they'll be able to check your prostate for you while they're up there.

Anything short of Bellichick getting run out of the league isn't going to satisfy me.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

Billicheat is such a smug SOB and, I would like to see him get what he has coming. I wonder if the truth is really going to surface. Seems like the NFL wants this to be swept underneath the carpet. although if a player even dresses wrong they get raked over the coals. I guess time will tell
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

Quote:
Originally Posted by steel striker View Post
Billicheat is such a smug SOB and, I would like to see him get what he has coming. I wonder if the truth is really going to surface. Seems like the NFL wants this to be swept underneath the carpet. although if a player even dresses wrong they get raked over the coals. I guess time will tell
Agreed - seems the NFL brass' priorities are a bit misplaced, huh? Wearing socks that are the wrong color in a game = problem. Endemic cheating by a franchise for years, causing the integrity of the game as a whole to come into question = no problem!

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Old 02-23-2008, 09:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

Goodell issued this statement: "Walsh who?"
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

romeo crennel is backing up for his ex-boss...

he came out and said he never saw any tape of any team...

what a load of BULL SHAT... i used to respect crennell and the job he did in cleveland... but now...
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

After reading all the stuff on spygate, I've come to these conclusions:

1. Walsh will have damning evidence.

2. The Patriots* know that serious ramifications will come of the evidence.

3. Goodell is a secretive S.O.B.

4. Belicheat is a lying cheater.

5. Belicheat will at the very least get suspended if the evidence sees light of day.

6. Specter must be a STEELERS fan!!!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:04 PM   #8
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Thumbs down Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhee Rhee View Post
romeo crennel is backing up for his ex-boss...

he came out and said he never saw any tape of any team...

what a load of BULL SHAT... i used to respect crennell and the job he did in cleveland... but now...
Let's see how that plays out when people are put under oath

Trust me on this - folks memories either "improve" or denials become "I do not recall" when you tell them a false statement may buy you contempt of Congress and/or prosecution under 18 USC 1001
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

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Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
Let's see how that plays out when people are put under oath

Trust me on this - folks memories either "improve" or denials become "I do not recall" when you tell them a false statement may buy you contempt of Congress and/or prosecution under 18 USC 1001

Thats right Dan. I know the NFL wants this to go away. It will hurt the NFL to some degree. However from a fans point of view, I would rather see the NFL take a hit and know that when watching a game it is played on a fair playing field. To me that is much better than knowing the Patriots cheated and wondering just how it helped them win games and to what extent. We are die hard Steeler fans. We watch weather they are winning or loosing. It can be extreamly stressfull as all of you real fans know. But we watch untill the clock shows 00:00. We deserve to know what went on and the Patriots deserve to face the music for it.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Specter irked by uncooperative Pats

if walsh brings these tapes out it will destroy the pats.. and i hope they are stripped of the rings they have won... and also this might hurt goodell as well for trying to push it under the carpet
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