by Scott Benson
I admit, they almost had me.
I had gone more than three months without writing about You Know What-Gate, choosing instead to amuse myself with talk of the free agent and draft markets, and the question of how in the world the Patriots will be able to come back from blowing a perfect season in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl.
Until this week.
It started (relatively) innocently enough on Tuesday, when former video assistant Matt Walsh finally appeared at the NFL offices to tell the league what he knows about Bill Belichick’s taping practices. As editor of PD (I won a coin flip), I felt we had little choice but to acknowledge the much anticipated event.
So I did, and I’m now here to tell you that I should have left it at that.
I didn’t. One Spygate post led to another to another this week, and before I knew it, I was at full boil. It was as if it was September 10, 2007 all over again.
Just as the Vast Wing Nut Conspiracy had hoped.
Football coaches trying to steal signals from other football coaches isn’t nearly the threat to our sporting lives as is the corrosive element that duplicitously claims to be our advocate. When the objective history of this entire ridiculous episode is finally, mercifully written, it will reveal that the so-called advocates cynically arrived first at their desired conclusion and then worked backwards, not for the public’s good, but for their own.
Now they feign weariness of the whole subject while stoking the flames for further punishment. Further clicks, further eyeballs, further sales, further profits. Until further notice.
Now they presume to define for us what Bill Belichick did to us. Us! We’re victims! He put us on the defensive FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES!
Putting aside the overwrought drama for a minute: on the defensive against what? Well, what sportswriters think, for one.
Isn’t it interesting how this accomplishes the dual purpose of keeping them front and center at a time when consumers are finding fewer and fewer reasons to look their way?
If Spygate dies, a little part of them – their wallet, specifically – dies too.
I can hear it now – “oh, sure, it’s all the media’s fault!”
That seems like a mighty convenient way of excusing them from any responsibility whatsoever.
I can’t do that. Because this week reminded me that only one party in this sordid affair stands to benefit from its extension, and they’ll do anything, say anything, go anywhere to make it so.
They’ll keep their corrupt carousel grinding, hoping you’ll feel compelled to ride, as they lurk within the trojan horses they’ve sent spinning round and round, contemptuously leveraging the public’s notion of a Fourth Estate to mask the reality of their craven entitlements.
So this is where Patriots Daily gets off.
None of us came to this game and this team because of a reporter or a columnist. My mother and father brought me, and I bet yours did too. Or your brother or sister or uncle or cousin. Or your friends. They brought you, not to listen to self-serving pontification but to watch football, a gloriously interesting game, especially with repeated viewing. They brought you not to assume a faux dispassionate arms length pose to conceal selfish resentments, but for you to make the same emotional connection they had made, with a team that by its very geography had come to represent something in all of them.
Along the way, you may have discovered that the reporter and columnist could be a helpful guide as you learned more about this experience. And it is indeed affirming to know that a precious few still exist, and they continue to provide that service for a fair and honorable price. Good morning, Mike Reiss, Shalise Manza Young, Karen Guregian, Doug Flynn, Eric McHugh, Chris Price, and you others who still value honesty and integrity in your work, and who by your actions humbly acknowledge and respect the responsibilities your public positions still bear.
As to your less-admirable colleagues, the miserable squirrels who number their co-workers reputations in the mounting body count brought about by their avaricious scramble for every last remaining nut, two words.
At least here, on these pages. And hopefully, in your homes, your cars, your pc’s. Give their words and their deeds the weight they deserve, which is to say none. Show them every bit as much respect as they’re showing you. Which is to say none.
To do otherwise would be to invite further abuse. There’s only one way to end Spygate.
By not taking their bait.
So I’ll try to do that here, by turning my attention permanently away from the sideshow and back towards the real show. In fairness, I’ve had the floor plenty over the last week, and if one of our writers finds they have a parting shot at this cruel carnival, it’s only right that I give them their chance.
But once that’s over, we’re moving on. On to what brought us here in the first place. Professional football, and our local team.
I’m having this conversation with you now to make sure that you hold me, and all the rest of us, accountable for doing just that.