No matter how much Bill Belichick would like to forget about “Spygate,” it should be apparent by now that it will never fade away. Along with all those Super Bowls he’s won for the New England Patriots, it’s going to be part of his legacy.
In an interview with Peter King of SI.com, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he felt “betrayed” when Belichick, the Patriots head coach, wasn’t fully transparent about the details surrounding the scandal in which the Pats were caught videotaping opponents’ coaching signals.
In 2007, Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 and stripped its first-round draft pick as punishment. But Goodell said he also instructed Patriots owner Robert Kraft that the penalty would include a public apology by Belichick in front of the media that week.
Instead, Belichick issued a statement and steadfastly refused to answer questions. Eventually, the queries stopped.
“I was given assurances that (Belichick) would tell his side of the story,” Goodell told SI.com. “He went out and stonewalled the press. I felt like I was deceived.”
Even now, Belichick refuses to be reprimanded by the commissioner. When contacted about Goodell’s remarks, he answered, “I did not make any assurances about thoroughly discussing the subject publicly. I said I would address it following the league's review. I then did that in a way I thought was appropriate. I don't think that was deceptive.”
It may have been what Belichick felt was appropriate, but it clearly wasn’t what Goodell had in mind – nor did he and the Patriots fully own up to their misdeeds. But when you’re a coach who wins Super Bowls, you can get away with a lot.