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NFL Looking At Alleged Spying
Incident In Patriots-Jets Game
BELICHICK APOLOGIZES: Belichick released the following statement about the situation this morning: "Earlier this week, I spoke with Commissioner Goodell about a videotaping procedure during last Sunday's game and my interpretation of the rules. At this point, we have not been notified of the league's ruling. Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players. Following the league’s decision, I will have further comment." Prior to a press conference for this week's game, he referred to the statement and said, “Until we get a ruling from the league, there isn’t anything more that I have to add to that” (THE DAILY).
Did Mangini Help Tip Off NFL To
Patriots' Videotaping Incident On Sunday?
Xs & UH-OHs: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the reports about the Patriots, “Usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so those rumors are founded on something” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/12). Other Steelers coaches who did not want to be identified said that they “have suspected for a long time that the Patriots used such a device to gain an illegal advantage, although they did not file a complaint with the league” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/12). Former NFL and current Univ. of Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said, “It didn’t surprise me ... We had a couple incidents when I was the head coach with the Dolphins that later on guys told us stories about things happening in the locker room at their facility, and Mickey Mouse stuff that I couldn’t believe” (“Fox GameTime Live,” Fox Radio, 9/11).
POSSIBLE PENALTIES: In N.Y., Gary Myers writes Goodell "must not play favorites with a three-time, Super Bowl-winning coach. Forget about taking away a couple of draft picks. Goodell should suspend [Belichick] for one game - the rematch against the Jets in December - for cheating." One source said, "If they prove they were doing it, a suspension for Belichick would not be too strong. I think more than likely the Patriots would be fined or lose a draft pick. A suspension would be pretty tough, but I wouldn't argue against it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/12). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes while the league will not force the Patriots to forfeit the game, Goodell should “threaten a forfeit to any team that does it in the future” (NEWSDAY, 9/12). In N.Y., Steve Serby writes the “impending loss of a high draft choice, another pick and a prohibitive club fine doesn’t go far enough.” Serby: “Goodell needs to send NFL coaches the same kind of stern message he sent NFL players when he suspended Pacman Jones for a year” (N.Y. POST, 9/12). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney: “The Patriots should not be allowed to use any game film from the press box area or stadium/end zone views ... for the next seven weeks.” Also, all assistants during that time “must vacate the press box during games and work from the sidelines” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/12). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "Money is not the issue here. If you want to get at players, you take away games from them; if you want to get at teams, you take away players from them. I believe you do take away a draft choice, I believe you start at (a seventh-round pick), because this is unprecedented" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/11). But FSN’s Rodney Peete, a former NFL QB, said the Patriots' penalty "really shouldn’t be anything. … You’re going to get an edge whenever you can. Everybody films and gets scouting reports on everybody, whether it’s players, whether it’s coaches. … If there’s a coach that’s on the sidelines -- defensive coach who’s giving signals -- that’s not smart enough to have two guys next to him giving dummy signals, then it’s their fault” ("BDSSP," FSN, 9/11).
DEFENSIVE HEADSETS TO COME? ESPN.com’s John Clayton notes the incident “will probably lead to” one defensive player on each team having a radio installed in his helmet to recieve signals from the sideline. While many owners feel Belichick “beat them by cheating ... what is going to upset them even more is this incident could cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars [for the equipment]” (ESPN.com, 9/12). NEWSDAY's Glauber notes before the NFL Owners meeting last March, a measure for defensive helmet communications systems failed by two votes, but a source said fans “can count on it” changing next year (NEWSDAY, 9/12).
Pundits Feel Spying Scandal
Could Mar Patriots' Image
Judge Dismisses Ruling That Belkin
Entitled To Buy Out Atlanta Spirit Owners
Former Employee Testifies Of Abuse
From Thomas During Tenure With Team
MORE TESTIMONY: Browne Sanders testified that when she tried to involve players in promotional events, Thomas would say, “‘Bitch, I don’t give a f--- about the sponsors. Bitch, I don’t give a f--- about ticket sales. That’s your job.’” She added that when she asked Thomas at one point to hand-sign letters to season-ticket holders, he replied "I don’t give a f--- about these white people” (N.Y. POST, 9/12). Browne Sanders said her reply to Thomas was, "I think you're going to have a problem because 80% of the season subscriber base is white" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/12). But Sue Ellen Eisenberg, one of Thomas’ lawyers, said, “We categorically deny this new set of unfounded and outrageous allegations” (NEWSDAY, 9/12). The jury is composed of five women and three men, with no African-Americans (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/12).
Writers Question Dolan's Decision
Not To Settle Harassment Lawsuit
The NFL Panthers have increased their corporate roster to 115 companies from 101 a year ago, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. One of the additions, Lowe’s, is returning as a team sponsor after leaving the club in '05 after inking a deal with the Bobcats. The company is currently paying $600,000-700,000 annually for its sponsorship with the Panthers and about $1.5-2M annually for its Bobcats deal. U.S. Airways also returned as a Panthers sponsor this season with a $250,000-$300,000 deal. Several "major sponsorship categories expire after the current season,” and the Panthers could “stick with the current sponsors, split the categories by adding more companies or sign new deals with exclusive providers.” Wireless telecommunications and automotive sponsors “each generate $2[M] annually for the team,” and three incumbents -- Alltel, SunCom and Motorola -- split the wireless sector, while Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep of the Carolinas has had an exclusive auto deal with the team since its inception. Panthers President Mark Richardson forecasts a 5-10% increase in total revenue for '07 (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/7 issue).
Colleague Lauds Richardson As
One Of NFL's Leading Owners
Russell Could Earn As Much As
$68M Over Course Of Rookie Contract
Predators Raising Prices On Single-
Game Tickets For '07-08 Season
Triple Crown Sports (TCS) CEO David King, who is leading the effort to get a WNBA team in Denver, said that the bid for an expansion franchise "will be put off until at least 2009 because of lack of investor money," according to Chris Dempsey of the DENVER POST. King said, "There is a lot of interest in the team. There's not a lot of interest in ownership of the team." King said while a core group of 15 investors existed, the "dollar amounts weren't significant enough. I didn't have the one or two really substantial players that it took to do this deal." Dempsey notes there were "rumors King was going to buy the [Comets] and move the franchise to Denver." King said that he was "never presented an opportunity to buy the Comets, but that acquiring an existing franchise is a possibility -- and that takes fewer dollars." While Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) had offered TCS use of the Pepsi Center at "economical rates," KSE Exec VP & CMO Paul Andrews said that Owner Stan Kroenke "does not want to be stretched too thin by being majority owner in a sixth professional franchise" in the market (DENVER POST, 9/12).