The Bill Belichick Scandal: A $1.7 Million Fraud?
* Raiders quarterback Daunte Culpepper and three teammates (arrested for indecent lewd and disorderly conduct aboard a yacht on Lake Minnesota)
* Athletes in all sports—amateur and professional—stoking themselves up to their eyeballs on steroids and other performance enhancing drugs
Quite simply, in my opinion, the Patriots’ spy system was not an individual act. Rather wasn’t it a conspiracy at the highest level of corporate management that could have defrauded the opposition’s players out of the Super Bowl winning prize money?
In 2004, Matthew Estrella, a 26-year-old communications major from Fitchburg State College landed a job with the Patriots as their “video guy,” hired to roam the sidelines with a camera. According to NFL rules, “no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field or in the locker room during the game.” They also say all video for coaching purposes must be shot from locations “enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead.”
In a September 6 memo to all NFL general managers and head coaches, Ray Anderson, the league’s EVP of football operations, said:
Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.
At the game on September 9, where the Patriots pasted the Jets 34-18, Estrella’s camera was confiscated during the first quarter, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell determined that he was spying on the defensive signals of the Jets.
“This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,” Goodell said in a letter to the Patriots.