The events of the past few days have underscored in my mind the need for defense attorneys, even for people who are clearly guilty of something. It also reminds me of the Clinton impeachment.
With Bill Clinton and Bill Belichick, in both cases we had people who had clearly done something wrong. But the problem is that, once the wrongdoing is exposed, it's easy for more accusations to arise which may or may not be founded. In Clinton's case, the wrongdoing was the affair with Lewinsky. The evidence of dishonesty, however, has led to oodles of conspiracy theories as absurd as that he was behind the deaths of Vince Foster and/or Ron Brown.
In Belichick's case, the wrongdoing was illicitly taping signals of opposing coaches during games. The pile-on was the accusation that he had also taped the Rams' walk-through practice before the Super Bowl in 2001.
It is difficult to stand up and defend somebody who has already been exposed as a cheater. Indeed, it is much easier to pile on, since anybody who defended BB in the past few months was derided as a loyalist kool-aid drinker. But when I saw Belichick dismiss as absurd the notion that they taped the walk-through, it seemed true to me. Not because he seemed particularly honest at the time, but because the explanation was so mundane and dismissive. He said, basically, that it would be pointless to tape a walk-through because you would get no information out of it.
The fact that the original story in the Herald was unsourced and never was verified, and that the entire Patriots organization was so vehement about its falsity, convinced me that there was no tape out there. I wasn't convinced that there never had been a tape, but I figured BB was smart enough not to allow Bob Kraft to be so explicit if there was any chance he'd be exposed as a liar.
I figured in the worst case, Walsh would say that there had been a tape, but he didn't have a copy. But the news is even more favorable for the Pats: not only is there no tape, but everybody involved agrees that there never was a tape.
Shame on the Boston Herald for ruining the Super Bowl experience for all Patriots' fans. Publishing an unverified story two days before the Super Bowl was inexcusable. I know that the Patriots won't use this as an excuse, but I have to think that bit of hullaballoo hurt their ability to focus on the football that day.