In the Cheap Seats

Don't Laugh, Goodell's joke is on every NFL fan

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 15, 2008 - The New England Patriots' cheating is no laughing matter, but it's hard not to snicker at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's blind-eye handling of the situation.

Goodell's take on the Patriots' videotaping other teams' defensive signals has been hypocritical to say the least. He has suspended players for an entire season for off-field misdeeds, but barely punishes the Patriots for blatant cheating that affects games.

I'm glad he wants to clean up the players' behavior, but cheating - which could help determine the winners or losers of games - deserves harsher punishment from the commissioner than off-the-field activity that doesn't carry over on Sunday afternoons.

The funniest part of the whole debacle is Goodell's naivete that the film wasn't used by the Patriots. You're not going to cheat unless you plan on using what you have illegally gained.

Maybe Goodell thinks other are buying what he's peddling.

"I smoked but I never inhaled."

"But, honey, I buy Playboy for the articles."

"Officer, I have an open beer in my car, but I swear I wasn't drinking."

Now, we have a new one - "I filmed the other team, but I never used it."

TRICKY RICK - I don't know if Rick Carlisle is the best man for the Mavericks' new coaching gig, but he's got Dirk's stamp of approval, so that's a good start. Carlisle has impressed Nowitzki with his willingness to talk with the players and accept their input, which former coach Avery Johnson apparently did not do. Seven of the Mavericks' players are signed through at least 2011, so Dallas owner Mark Cuban had to make a move with Avery - it was apparent he could not get along with his players for three more seasons. Maybe Carlisle has learned from Avery's mistakes. Now, if he can just rework this disaster of a roster.

GIVE AND GO - The Rangers made an off-season trade of promising pitcher Edinson Volquez to the Cincinnati Reds for promising outfielder Josh Hamilton. Volquez has a 6-1 record with a 1.12 ERA, while Hamilton leads the majors with 44 RBI to go along with eight home runs and 13 doubles. The returns are very early, but this looks like it is one of the few win-win deals by Ranger GM Jon Daniels. ... We won't get into the Chris Young or John Danks deals.

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