Spygate’s Day of Reckoning Draws Near
News broke on Sunday that the NFL and Matt Walsh are close to an agreement that would allow Walsh, a former Patriots employee, to share with the league what he knows about the team’s videotaping procedures. The sticking points are indemnification by the NFL—Walsh wants assurances he won’t be prosecuted for revealing what he has—and his attorney fees paid in full. As late as a week and a half ago, the NFL said “absolutely not” to both requests.
Since then, the details have apparently been ironed out. Soon, the world will know what Walsh claims to have. Whether or not it will matter is another argument.
The ginormous smoking gun would be if Walsh has videotapes of the St. Louis Rams practices before Super Bowl XXXVI. A Herald story published in the days before this year’s Super Bowl hinted that such a tape existed but the paper hasn’t revealed its source. Bill Belichick has denied the allegations to the media and the league, and the Patriots have already laid the ground work for a defense.
In a Globe piece from February, Belichick said:
1. He couldn’t pick Walsh out a lineup.
2. He never taped practices.
Also in the piece, Scott Pioli, the No. 2 football man in the Patriots organization said he fired Walsh after learning he was audio-taping conversations.
Indeed, in the Globe today, Bob Hohler writes that Walsh was just a disgruntled ex-employee who wanted to strike back at the team. If he had taped the Rams practice, the Patriots have preemptively argued, he did it on his own.
As a witness, Walsh is a bit suspect. He is apparently something of a serial self-aggrandizer, trumping up his resume with claims that he was a scout and involved in game-planning. The Patriots have denied he was a scout and the notion that he was involved in game-planning seems ridiculous.
Still left unresolved is how Walsh got hooked up with a Washington heavyweight like Michael Levy as his counsel, and whether Sen. Arlen Specter’s ties with Comcast have been the real driving force behind the senator’s effort to have Walsh speak. Also to be determined is why the NFL didn’t interview Walsh during its investigation.
There may yet be more questions than answers once Walsh has his day.