After yesterday’s testimony by Matt Walsh to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Boston Herald has issued an apology for their erroneous story the day before the Super Bowl which said that the Patriots taped the St Louis Rams walkthrough the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. The story caused a nation-wide furor which has continued since that day. Here is the apology:
On Feb. 2, 2008, the Boston Herald reported that a member of the New England Patriots [team stats]’ video staff taped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. While the Boston Herald based its Feb. 2, 2008, report on sources that it believed to be credible, we now know that this report was false, and that no tape of the walkthrough ever existed.
Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Herald neither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.
The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation, and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriots’ owners, players, employees and fans for our error.
As you can see at the top of this post, the apology is prominently mentioned on both the front and back cover of the Herald.
Is it enough? David Scott has some pretty thorough analysis of the situation over at Scott’s Shots.
Here’s my beef: You certainly remember how, when the whole spygate thing originally went down, and Belichick remained silent on the matter outside of just a single statement? That he steadfastly refused to answer questions about it, no matter how many times they were put to him.
Remember the heat he took for it? He was virtually crucified by the media for not even reading the statement, or addressing it “live” or taking questions about it. Consider some of the comments from that week:
I’m no sports expert.
But I know a coward when I see one. And a coward is what I saw scowling behind the podium Friday at the New England Patriots’ press conference.
Bill Belichick, the legendary coach who demands fearlessness from young men bashed and smashed all over a football field, was too afraid to get the words out of his mouth: “wrong” or “sorry” or “mistake.” Or even “mistakes were made,” the preferred term of 21st century politicians also too afraid to tell the truth.
With the world watching, Belichick hid behind his “statement,” the one he actually deigned to admit he wrote only after two questions in a row about it. But the leader of the gridiron behemoths lacked the courage to read it aloud.
Yeah, that one was from Margery Eagan – of the Boston Herald.
How about this one, which begins:
On behalf of the sports enthusiasts of New England, the Boston Herald today issues the following statement:
While we find formal releases like this to be cold, impersonal and lacking humanity and humility, we felt compelled to address the recent actions of the New England Patriots, one of the most celebrated and supported teams in sports.
So the Herald here is firmly and deliberately placing themselves on the moral high ground to pronounce judgment. Yes, they felt compelled to address the Patriots behavior. Later on in the article, the writer, one Tony Massarotti, says:
In the days immediately following disclosure of the Patriots’ unethical behavior, both Belichick and Kraft issued statements apologizing for the incident and the shame it has brought on our region. We found those admissions to be hollow and completely meaningless. Whatever words the Patriots printed on a sheet of paper and distributed to media outlets throughout the nation, not a single team official has stepped up and said the most important words – “I’m sorry.” Consequently, there has been absolutely no attempt on the part of team officials to explain themselves and show any remorse whatsoever.
Regret, after all, is an emotion. It cannot be replicated or replaced, even by a color laser printer. In any apology or admission, the words are not as important as the feeling behind them, and the written word can frequently come off as corporate, sterile and devoid of all human feeling. (On this matter, the Herald, among other print media outlets, has particular expertise.) In short, we have questions that we had hoped would be answered. Communication is important in any relationship, even one between the followers of a football team and the team itself.
At a time like this, forgive us if we cease being mindless lemmings who have filled football stadiums in Foxboro from September through January since Mr. Kraft took over the franchise.
While we understand that no person or organization is perfect, we have found the events of the last week to be quite troubling because they violate the first rules of human decency. In the end, the only thing that connects us all is our vulnerability. We all make mistakes and we all look to move on at the appropriate time, but not until we all acknowledge that we ultimately share one responsibility.
It’s called accountability.
Unlike the Patriots, we hope to discuss this matter further.
So the Herald was right there in front leading the cries of accountability in the days following spygate, demanding an explanation, wanting more than just a simple, issued statement.
In this current incident, all we’ve gotten is a simple, three paragraph statement, which doesn’t even name John Tomase or the editor responsible for letting the walkthrough story get through.
If a football team is being castigated for not being accountable to society for their actions, how much more should a newspaper, which is held and bound by the ethics of journalism?
The Herald will have to forgive us if we cease being mindless lemmings, who read the paper daily, trusting that due diligence is being done in bringing us the news each day.
The Herald’s apology is also weird on a number of fronts. Yesterday, material was flying on and off the Herald’s website at a dizzying rate. A post from Tomase was removed from the Point After blog, a story was given a number of headlines, the first one focused on Walsh admitting to “spying” on the Rams at the walkthrough, with little emphasis placed on the fact that the event had not been recorded. Headlines were reworked, and the “spying” material taken out.
If they were still sticking to their story and angle, why the sudden changes and then the apology? Did the Patriots statement from yesterday give them a bit of a jolt? Who was the original source, and what does it say about the Herald that they trusted that source enough to run with the original story? It appears we won’t know, since the Herald isn’t talking.
There’s plenty more coverage of this out there, but I’ve already used most of my time here. Check in at PatriotsLinks.com for all the headlines on this subject. Also, over at Patriots Daily, Scott Benson weighs in on the events of the day as well.
The Red Sox dropped another one last night, this time in Baltimore. Get the news at RedSoxLinks.com.
The Celtics play a crucial game five with the Cavaliers tonight at the Garden. On the BSMW Full Court Press, Matt Richardson and Kevin Henkin team up for some observations on the series. Get your Celtics news and headlines at CelticsLinks.com.