In the Cheap Seats: Is that all?
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Sept. 14, 2007 - Now we know what type of artillery that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will bring out when he's dealing one of the most powerful men in the league.
A pop gun.
Goodell, the new discipline czar of professional sports who has used a big boot on the behinds of Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson and Michael Vick, did nothing more than wag his finger at cheater deluxe Bill Belichick and take away his Coke money.
Patriots head coach Bill Belicheater claims it was a misinterpretation of the rules that led him to secretly videotape Jets' defensive signals and have them radioed to his sideline. If it was nothing more than a rules interpretation, then why did he do it secretly?
Belicheater openly cheated and lied. In return, Goodell fined him $500,000 - which is sizable even for a coach making $5 million - and punished the team by taking away its first-round draft choice. But get this, the Patriots already own the 49ers first-round pick, which will be a higher selection than their own.
And don't be surprised if Belicheater gets a half-million-dollar raise in the offseason.
So where is the punishment? Oh sure, five years from now, the Patriots may regret that they weren't able to select a back-up offensive lineman with their first-round pick. Woe to them.
Goodell had a chance to hammer Belicheater. He did it to Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson and even Cowboys quarterback coach Wade Wilson, who was suspended five games and fined $100,000 for using a banned substance. I didn't even know coaches were tested for banned substances.
None of those players or coaches' actions, while they may have been reprehensible, affected the outcome of games. Belicheater's cheating did affect games, so his punishment should have been even harsher.
Belicheater should have been suspended without pay for at least half of a season along with the other punishments that Goodell handed out because this brand of cheating has been on-going.
Commentators may say that the Patriots didn't need to cheat to win. Then why did they? Obviously, there was a competitive advantage in cheating, and the Patriots took it, prospered with it and now have been let off the hook by a hypocritical commissioner, who looks like he's more of a bully than a true disciplinarian.
TANK BATTLE - Speaking of Tank Johnson, the rumor is that once the defensive lineman comes off of suspension, the Cowboys will be a frontrunner to sign him to replace nose tackle Jason Ferguson, who will miss the season with an injury. The Bears cut Johnson in the offseason, but not before he helped them to the Super Bowl.