Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Probe This: The Arlen Specter Story
Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter wants a probe. After the debacle that was wrought from the congressional hearings on steroids in baseball, and the subsequent Mitchell Report, Senator Specter is now suggesting the an independent probe be implemented to investigate cheating in the NFL. This all started with an investigation done by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell into the New England Patriots' alleged videotaping of opponents' sideline signals. Known as "Spygate," the investigation led to the Patriots losing their first round draft pick in last month's NFL draft, as well as fining the team a total of $750,000 ($500,000 of which were fined to coach Bill Belichick). The man who was responsible for the videotaping, Matt Walsh, handed over six videos which spanned since 2001. The controversy seemed to have been coming to an end yesterday when commissioner Goodell and Walsh met for a few hours, and Goodell came to the conclusion that no further punishment was necessary.
First of all, I think it's about time to retire this tired tradition of slapping the suffix 'gate' onto every scandal that comes along. Watergate was an interesting and important historical event, and every time writers relate some lame 'controversy' to Watergate, it just makes it into an increasingly sadder joke. Every time I hear 'gate' being added to then end of a word, I sink deeper and deeper into a swamp of dumb. I'm at beak level now; much more of this, and I won't be able to breathe. But I digress.
I realize the government and sports are not completely autonomous from each other, with the anti-trust status and such, but this is getting ridiculous. With all of the pertinent issues in our country right now, does Senator Specter have nothing better to do with his time and your tax money than to engage in a modern-day Salem witch trial? Specter is McCarthy nouveau. Of course, the implications of this witch hunt are not nearly as dire as they were during the Red Scare, but I can think of at least one person *furbish cough*Roger Clemens*furbish cough* whose life has been completely inverted as a result. Perhaps he brought it upon himself, but perhaps many if not all of the allegations against him are false.
When McCarthy said, "communist," it smeared those who really had no way to prove they weren't, except to say that they weren't. It was he said/she said. By that same token, whenever the word "steroids" was invoked during that circus known as the congressional hearings, and subsequently the Mitchell Report, people could either say they never failed a drug test, or admit that they did. Usually the players who admitted they did were forgiven and forgotten, while those who didn't, such as Mark McGuire, were just assumed guilty (though his testimony essentially was an admission of guilt by...stupidity). And thus, any investigation by anything having to do with our federal government will merely be an attempt in futility -- and a wasteful one at that. What is supposed to be accomplished with this? To rid the sport of the evil art of figuring out the other team's signals? That's small potatoes. It has a minimal impact on the game, and it's something that the NFL obviously already looks out for, otherwise the Patriots wouldn't have been caught in the first place. If Arlen Specter wants a probe, well, I've got a probe for him all right. And since he's a Republican, he probably already knows what to do with it.
- The Furious Furby (Guest Blogger)