You'll get no argument from me that the government has more important things to worry about than professional football. The war, the economy, health care, all of that stuff. It's all infinitely more important than football. Obviously.
However, 100 years from now, when your children's children's children are reading their digital history books, I doubt there's going to be any chapter that reads, "The United States lost the war on terror and crumbled as a nation, and all of that could have been avoided if only Arlen Specter had not spent that hour-and-a-half with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell."
I honestly think that the issue at hand is a big enough deal to warrant a Senator's involvement. Again, I agree that the government has more important things to worry about than football. But it's not like the entire Senate is taking two weeks to debate a pass interference call. It's not like we've got a government shutdown so all of our politicians can work on passing a bill that prohibits the Lions from taking another wide receiver in the 1st round of the draft.
We're talking about a major corporation selling a fraudulent product. The NFL is a huge corporate monolith that sells a product to the public. And if there's a chance that that product is fraudulent, and is not the honest and fair competition the NFL purports it to be, I say that's a big deal.
If you're selling something--especially if you enjoy an antitrust exemption granted by the government--that something has to be what you say it is.
Imagine there was a major food company, and the government said to them, "Yes, it's OK if you're the only major food company in the country, and you shut everyone else down." And say that food company was selling cereal that claimed to be 100% whole grain, but was actually composed of 30% pencil shavings and 20% scrap metal. You'd want to know, right? You'd want to know that what they were peddling wasn't what they claimed it to be.
Granted, watching someone cheat at football isn't quite as damaging as eating a half-a-pound of pencil shavings every morning, but I still want to know when I'm being lied to.
And I think the level of government involvement here is appropriate. So far, it's been one 90-minute meeting with one Senator. It's not like baseball, where we're dedicating a whole day of public hearings and wasting hours of everyone's time because we want to hear about Roger Clemens' ass-bleeding and his wife showing off her fake jubblies, with no new information coming out.
It's been one Senator, and one meeting. That's all we've had so far. And that one meeting produced at least a few facts that we didn't already know.
If I could choose how Arlen Specter spent his time, and the choices were A) find the best way to get our troops home safely, B) make health care available to everyone, or C) find out just how much the Patriots cheated, obviously, I'd choose A or B.
However, A and B really weren't options, were they? Can the Senator do that by himself? I'd like to think that if Specter could accomplish either of those in 90 minutes, he'd have done it by now.
The more realistic choices for how Specter spent that time would be A) find out just how much the Patriots cheated, or B) nap. And in that case, I'll take A.