by Scott Benson

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Matt Walsh end up as a defense witness yesterday in this Lewis Carroll-esque Trial of the Century?

Yes, there were ticket scalping allegations and suggestions that a player on IR had practiced with the club, but in the end, Walsh confirmed;

  • He didn’t tape the walkthrough, he wasn’t told to tape the walkthrough, he didn’t know anybody who was told to tape the walkthrough, or anybody that did tape the walkthrough, and he hasn’t seen a tape or know anybody who claims to have one;
  • Other than the eight tapes that he produced, which only confirmed what the league already knew, he isn’t aware that the Patriots violated league policy in any other manner;
  • Even the alleged whistleblower said the tapes weren’t used during the games in which they were shot.

Overall, a pretty good day for the Patriots, right? Don’t each of these respond directly to the heart of the charges against the possibly-corrupt three-time champs?

You and I both know it doesn’t work that way.

Not with Red Light Goodell in charge. I tried to listen carefully to the substance of his remarks, which were generally reassuring for Patriots fans, but I couldn’t help but be put off by the swaggering “you wanna watch the tapes again?” after he finally took the stage. Commissioner, the point might have been to dull them with the poorly shot details, but the end result was three and a half hours of live shot speculation, most of which cast the New England Patriots in a most unfavorable light. Thanks for the final kick in the nuts on the way out the door, Rog.

And most especially it doesn’t work that way when it comes to the media, hungry for any chum, never mind chum this choice, to sustain their own existence.

I can only say you have reached a nadir when Rich Eisen, anchor for the friggin’ house network, uses the word “shocking” half a dozen times in a half hour of tape clips, one of which showed a San Diego Chargers cheerleader looking absolutely terrific. The rest showed a group of Cleveland Browns coaches that are no longer employed in the NFL, and Dave Wannstedt. Which is a big deal if you’re playing the University of Pittsburgh this fall. And speaking of Pittsburgh, there was the Steelers too, who will have to explain to me how these tapes relate to their atrocious play on special teams.

In other words, the tapes revealed exactly what the NFL had last September. Shocking!

I swear, it’s only real to these guys when they show the tape on their air. The self-absorption. Shocking!

I didn’t see this, but some message board pals reported that ESPN’s Cris Carter and Mark Schlereth – there to power with their endless hot air the Leader’s Dirigible of Discourse –  were insisting the Patriots used the tapes in the games in which they were shot both before and after Walsh claimed this was not the case. This goes to lend further credence to my theory: we have to start ignoring these people, or we’re going to lose our minds.

I guess that’s what I take away from all ‘this’, whatever you want to call it, the thing which in any name reached its bizarre crescendo with Walsh’s appearance yesterday.

It’s not over, until every last fat lady in Bristol and New York and Los Angeles and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and every other lose-to-the-Patriots city this side of San Diego sings. Which is to say, never. They will always be the Cheat-riots and he will always be Beli-cheat, from the message boards to the editorial boards, even to the stage boards of the goddam house network, evidently.

Particularly if the authors of the varied screeds have been snubbed by Belichick, or lost a playoff game to him. Now, revelations that every person who has ever tried to buy a ticket to the Super Bowl has also been a victim!

It will never be over, not even after fans arm themselves with factsheets to fight off the daily distortions of an instatiable media. It’s a noble effort by these Pats fans, driven to distraction by their team being dragged through the mud in the name of ‘entertainment’ (remember that’s what the ‘E’ in ‘ESPN’ represents), but in the end, it’s futile in a world where unreliable characters like Carter and Schelereth are highly paid to do nothing but fill 24 hours of dead air, every day.

It will never be over, no matter what Matt Walsh or Roger Goodell say. Or the disgraceful Boston Herald, which ended the day by declaring that Walsh had admitted to “spying” (their word) on the Rams walkthrough.

So much for the contrite paper seeking the team’s forgiveness, perhaps sacrificing their poison pen provocatueur at the team’s altar, in exchange for mercy in the courts. Herald, to the Pats: F*** you, as of 4 p.m. this afternoon. 

They changed it later, removing the spy references, but the point was made. It will never be over. It can’t be. It’s the only thing keeping the other side alive.

Sooner we accept that, and realize that to linger any longer with this only invites further exploitation, the better.

That goes for the Pats too, at least the front office kind. After all, their team just blew two straight championships on the last possession. They don’t have something better to do?

Don’t we all?