Patriots address Spygate distraction
PALM BEACH, Fla. – New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and coach Bill Belichick tried to heal any wounds among their fellow coaches and owners by addressing the Spygate scandal at the owners meetings Tuesday.
After the meeting, Kraft met with Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy to assess how the address was received by the rest of the league. Dungy told Kraft he was appreciative of the comments. However, neither of the men wanted to elaborate on the moment.
“I prefer to leave that in the room,” Dungy said. “But I will say it felt very, very sincere.”
The Patriots were fined $500,000 – Belichick was fined a separate $250,000 – and were docked their original first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft (they still have the seventh overall courtesy the San Francisco 49ers) as punishment for illegally videotaping New York Jets’ defensive signals in last year’s season opener. Two days before Super Bowl XLII in February and throughout the offseason, there have been reports and speculation of previous illegal videotaping by the Pats.
Kraft told the coaches and owners that the Spygate scandal was not how New England wanted to be viewed around the league or in the general public. He also said he was upset with how the league was being viewed in the aftermath of the scandal.
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said he appreciated what Belichick and Kraft had to say and that the comments were prompted by commissioner Roger Goodell essentially saying, “If there is an elephant in the room, let’s bring it out.”
“So since it was in that spirit, I think Bill and Bob decided to get up and say something along those lines. I think we all need to move past it,” Irsay said. “The discipline was laid down and it was a severe penalty and I think we just have to move on at this point. To me, it’s a past issue. But the fact that they (talked) showed class.
“We all have to realize is that we can all be sitting on the other side of the chair. We’re all human and we shouldn’t be the one to cast the first stone.” >
Belichick reiterated his explanation that he thought the filming of defensive coaching signals was within the rules. He stopped short of calling the situation a mistake.