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Sep 17, 2015 12:24 PM

NH1 News Investigates Integrity of the Game Part 2: Why has Spygate resurfaced?


ESPN published a scathing report about the Patriots cheating and the NFL’s response to it.

The piece cited 90 unnamed sources of current and former coaches, players, executives and staff. The story rehashed events from 8 years ago - Spygate in 2007. So, why have these accusations resurfaced now? Is there an underlying agenda? Some say there is one.

READ Part 1: New England Patriots vs. ESPN and the media

“Somebody who understands the dynamics of the league office is convinced there were league office sources that were feeding ESPN info with two agendas,” said NBC Sports’ writer Mike Florio on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan. “To retaliate against the Patriots and set Roger Goodell up for eventually being flown out of the office because there are people with their eyes on that job.”

NH1 News spoke to one of the authors of the ESPN article, “Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart.”

Senior writer of ESPN.com, Seth Wickersham said “It’s a huge company, you know? Don (Van Natta Jr.) and I were working on our own with an editor and nothing else was going on.”

Some say the ESPN story vilifies the New England Patriots by claiming they had a collection of tapes from 2000 to 2007. They say the Patriots have 40 tapes recording defensive signals of opposing coaches. Yet the league did not clarify their policy expressly prohibiting that until 2006.

READ Part 3: Reporting on Patriots causing friction inside ESPN

NH1 asked one of the authors if they investigated all behavior with other teams for comparison.

“It’s not our job to do the league’s investigation for them,” Wickersham said. He also added, “This wasn’t a story about cheating in the NFL.”

ESPN mentioned former coach and football great, Jimmy Johnson, who publicly admitted to recording signals.

However Sports Illustrated in their ‘Suspicions of Bill Belichick's Patriots Regime Persist Among Opponents,’ highlighted other foul play. It detailed the Denver Broncos fine for filming the San Fransisco 49ers in 2010 and the accusations against the Miami Dolphins for cheating.

Even Hall of Famer, John Madden has talked on-air about using tactics to get other teams' plays.

ESPN has drummed up a lot of controversy with this piece including inside its own company. In the next part of our investigation of the ‘Integrity of the Game,’ we will tell you about the friction created by this story at the sports network.

If you have an idea for a story or want something investigated contact Chantel McCabe at cmccabe@nh1.com.


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