NFL chief defends decision
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has defended his decision to destroy the infamous 'spygate' tapes handed over by the New England Patriots.
Last Updated: 14/02/08 8:39am
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has defended his decision to destroy the infamous tapes handed over to him by the New England Patriots as part of the 'spygate' affair, following his meeting with United States Senator Arlen Specter.
The NFL fined Pats coach Bill Belichick $500,000 (£254,000) and the New England organisation $250,000 (£127,000) in September for stealing the New York Jets' defensive signals during the teams' contest in Week One.
The Patriots also lost a first-round pick in the next NFL drafts as a result of the incident.
At his annual Super Bowl news conference Goodell said that the six tapes the Patriots had handed over which were destroyed by the NFL were from the 2006 season and 2007 pre-season.
After meeting Senator Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Goodell insised he did not regret his decision to destroy the tapes.
"Absolutely not," Goodell said. "I told the senator that.
"We had a violation that we detected. We disclosed it. The team admitted to it and we took unprecedented discipline."
Specter has described the NFL's handling of the spygate investigation as "very incomplete" and has questioned Goodell about the handling of the tapes.
New England became the first team in NFL history to complete a 16-0 regular season, but their hopes of perfection were dashed by Eli Manning and the New York Giants who won the Super Bowl with a 17-14 success in Arizona.
Despite Specter's reservations, Goodell insists that the NFL had acted correectly in the matter.
"We had an admission of guilt," Goodell added. "The tapes are competitive. They contain nothing but the coach's signature in violation of our policy. There was no purpose to (keeping them)."
However, Specter did not feel that Goodell had given a good enough explanation for getting rid of the tapes.
"No real valid reason was given for destroying the tapes," he said.
"Then, abruptly on the 20th on September, they destroyed the tapes for no valid reason.
"We intend to pursue the matter. We've asked the NFL to assist us in talking to key people."
One of those individuals could be former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh, while star quaterback Tom Brady could also be interviewed to see if he gained from any illegally gathered material.
Specter did not go so far as to accuse the NFL of covering up for the Patriots, but did admit that the destruction of the tapes makes it difficult to ever discover the full extent of the offence.
"When the tapes were destroyed, it was impossible for commissioner Goodell to be specific about what teams had been taped," Specter said.