The New England Patriots have responded.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” released a detailed report Tuesday indicating that New England’s Spygate allegations ran deeper than originally believed. The perception, according to the report, is that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came down hard on the Patriots in Deflategate as a “makeup call.”
The Patriots issued the following statement.
“The New England Patriots have never filmed or recorded another team’s practice or walk-through. The first time we ever heard of such an accusation came in 2008, the day before Super Bowl XLII, when the Boston Herald reported an allegation from a disgruntled former employee.
“That report created a media firestorm that extended globally and was discussed incessantly for months. It took four months before that newspaper retracted its story and offered the team a front- and back-page apology for the damage done. Clearly, the damage has been irreparable.
“As recently as last month, over seven years after the retraction and apology was issued, ESPN issued the following apology to the Patriots for continuing to perpetuate the myth: ‘On two occasions in recent weeks, ‘SportsCenter’ incorrectly cited a 2002 report regarding the New England Patriots and Super Bowl XXXVI. That story was found to be false, and should not have been part of our reporting. We apologize to the Patriots organization.’
“This type of reporting over the past seven years has led to additional unfounded, unwarranted and, quite frankly, unbelievable allegations by former players, coaches and executives. None of which have ever been substantiated, but many of which continue to be propagated.
“The New England Patriots are led by an owner whose well-documented efforts on league wide initiatives — from TV contracts to preventing a work stoppage — have earned him the reputation as one of the best in the NFL. For the past 16 years, the Patriots have been led by one of the league’s all-time greatest coaches and one of its all-time greatest quarterbacks. It is disappointing that some choose to believe in myths, conjecture and rumors rather than giving credit for the team’s successes to Coach Belichick, his staff and the players for their hard work, attention to detail, methodical weekly preparation, diligence and overall performance.”
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