Before ESPN’s Outside The Lines ran their program this afternoon, they sent an afternoon email promising new developments.They quoted a former NFL head linesman as calling the activities of Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally “unusual.” They even created a cute little hashtag for Twitter people: #PatriotsIssues

After Kelly Naqi repeated her reports that McNally had attempted to introduce an unapproved game ball to the AFC Championship Game, Adam Schefter called into the program. The show turned.

Let all that sink in, will you?

So the NFL, investigating the Patriots, is revealed to have had an employee stealing charity-bound game balls.

Great work, Roger.

Also:

Report: NFL official fired in deflate-gate case for selling football

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31 thoughts on “NFL Integrity Takes Another Hit

  1. And note that Schefter is an ESPN employee, no less. Maybe Naqi could have, you know, talked to him first?

    1. Actually, now that I think about it, I’d really love to know what prompted Schefter’s call into the show. Surely it is not commonplace for ESPN employee X to take the time to blow up ESPN employee Y’s story — on Y’s own show!

      1. Wondering the same damn thing.

        Schefter just made OTL, the one bastion of credibility ESPN has left, look silly. FYI, he’ll be on D+C tomorrow @ 8:30 AM.

        Even before hand, there was a former ref on who said that McNally wasn’t doing anything “unusual”.

        Funny thing: I just checked ESPN and there’s nothing from what Schefter said. How is an official getting fired for stealing balls not at least a headline on their NFL site?

    2. Yeah, not a bad suggestion, huh?

      Man, Bob Ley must have been livid. He seems like the only ESPN employee who cares about credibility. I can’t even imagine the # of cubicles, chairs and offices he destroyed after the show today.

  2. Just threw this on Twitter…

    Ironic that Goodell is done in by a sideline video captured by the Patriots.

  3. After today…I am wondering if the front office at Patriots Place went through the same emotions that I and probably several others did late yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon before the OTL report came out…basically deflate gate was a passing memory. The story comes out and I was a bit incredulous. The story seems like a hit piece and I am trying to figure out why but I did not have enough information to dispute it. Then came the Naqi interview where she made the assertion that McNally was guilty it was just a question of how. That was when the sky started to fall on ESPN. Shefter puts the final nail in their coffin when he refutes the McNally involvement completely. At that point I went from incredulous to angry and intrigued. Angry is obvious. Intrigued because now I want the whole house of cards to fall on the NFL front office. I want them to have to publicly explain how and why they attempted to frame the Patriots, then I want an accounting of each head that is fired because they were involved in this mess. Its just now getting good.

  4. In unrelated developments, the NFL announced that the Patriots’ entire 16-game schedule will be played at home.

  5. I hate to pick on Karen G of the Herald but she wrote….

    “Whether those balls were underinflated by natural causes or on purpose has yet to be determined, as the league is still investigating.

    Bottom line? The more we find out, the crazier it becomes.”

    to conclude her recap of yesterday’s events. I think she makes the wrong conclusion. Its not that the more we find out the crazier this becomes. Its that the more we find out, several things are clear:

    – The NFL front office has both a leakage problem and clearly a problem with someone having a vendetta against one of the premier franchises in the league. It is looking like that person is Mike Kensil. Reporters like Karen G rather than sitting there awed by this story should be digging into his background and exposing him on a daily basis.

    – ESPN has a similar problem. We in NE have complained about ESPN’s anti Patriots bias for years. The fact that OTL and by extension ESPN let this story out, under Naqi’s byline, only to have it completely debunked by one of their own reporters in less than 24 hours points to the absolutely shoddy work their editors, reporters and other people are doing with regards to the Pats. It has been said that it appears anything to “gotcha” the Pats is fair game when it comes to ESPN reporting. Writers like Karen G rather than thinking this is “crazy” should be exposing ESPN for the frauds that they are.

    – Ted Wells recently won a $364 mill verdict for Citi group. Now he is making what…$1200 an hour? chasing deflated footballs for the NFL. This long ago stopped being about the integrity of the game. The Pats beat Indy by 38 points. They beat Seattle and no one claims the balls there were tampered with. This is again about a “gotcha”. The NFL for some stupid reason has decided to make a federal case out of a non issue where the investigation is only exposing the NFL’s incompetency. That is the story Karen G should be chasing…not observing this is “crazy”.

    – According to Shefter an NFL official was stealing game balls destined for charity and selling them on the side. He was fired. Jim McNally had his life turned upside down for doing nothing but handing one official the ball he was handed by a now fired official. Let’s do some investigative work and find out who the fired official is and where he lives so that his life can be turned inside out. That would be a great story for an investigative Patriots beat writer to cover during the Pats offseason rather than being amazed that this story is getting “crazy”.

    – Lastly, at the Superbowl Bob Kraft stated emphatically that when the investigation is finished he expects a full apology from the NFL for besmirching the reputations of his franchise, his coach and his QB. Perhaps KG should look at when ESPN’s NFL contract is up and whether the chair of the TV committee might be looking to other broadcast partners for the Monday Night game. Now that would be “crazy”.

    1. After all of these, nobody really asks follow-up questions. Just rewind to the Ray Rice thing and there’s so much still unanswered.

      However, maybe Tim Benz can offer up his services. He seems hell-bent on figuring out what happened, but I think only if it implicates the team in cheating.

      1. Tim Benz is a thread for a much longer day. As for the NFL and its handling of “gates” they have done everything they can to make these things linger without satisfactory resolution and alienate their fans.

  6. Has ESPN or Naqi apologized to Jim McNally yet? They trashed this guy for doing nothing wrong. And the fact that another ESPN reporter was the first to tear down this hatchet job tells me that they should be apologizing quickly and hoping he doesn’t sue. I know from a legal stand point libel is hard to prove but what about deformation of character? Maybe my current level of hate of ESPN is clouding my judgment but I think there’s a case here. BTW, I am not a proponent of the litigious society that we have become, but maybe if you hit them in the wallet they won’t be so quick to run with garbage

  7. @ Trip McNeely “but maybe if you hit them in the wallet they won’t be so quick to run with garbage.”

    Don’t know the dollar amount of a McNally lawsuit but its likely to be a drop in the bucket for ESPN. The surefire way to attack their bottom line–write the advertisers of OTL saying you are disappointed with this so-called journalism and their sponsorship of it. And, you will not be buying their product/service. With fifty or a hundred letters to each SPONSOR, not to ESPN, they know, or should know, how to extrapolate from that small sample.

    1. For a while now I have been thinking how great it would be to have a group of fans that could reach out to sponsors of shows that just put out garbage. For example would Arbella be excited to sponsor Early Edition if they got a bunch of tweets or Facebook posts saying that they will never use their company as long as Tanguay is a part of the show. I even came up with a cleaver name, Boston Sports Fans United, which abbreviated is even better, BSFU. That concept truly does appeal to me in today’s culture of contrarianism and the willingness to say the most outrageous thing possible. Would Shank even have a job if 25,000 people were bombarding the Globe’s sponsors with as long as D.S is employed by the Globe and you continue to sponsor the paper I will never work with your company?

      But then I think about how that tramples the idea of free speech. And yes I understand the difference between consequences of free speech and real free speech (fired vs jail.) I can’t stand that fact that people from
      outside our area think that some of these a-hole reporters represent the thoughts of the people of New England, because most of the time they don’t. So it would be nice to at least feel like you had some control over what was said, but I am not sure that this is the way to do it.

    2. Actually, the real way is to cancel cable. I hate to harp on it but if you have even basic cable (not OTA), even part of that fee funds ABC, for which is going to be going up w/the sports deals. If you have expanded (ESPN+ESPN2), over $6 of your $50+ bill is going to ESPN/ABC alone. If you have a sports package, where you can get ESPNews, Classic, ESPNπ, ESPN sqrt(-1), etc, it’s even higher. Advertising is one huge chunk but the carriage fees are what’s keeping many networks alive.

  8. Moe Larry and curley would do a better job running the nfl. I can’t think of a worst run company than maybe the Detroit car companies Of the 70s… maybe the CEO who gave the ok for the……. New coke

  9. @MikeWellsNFL: GM Ryan Grigson said they notified NFL about concerns with balls week of AFCCG vs Pats

    Didn’t their concerns arise at half-time? Or did that story now change? As Curran points out, if that is his story, the NFL (or someone involved with them) was trying to trap the Patriots.

  10. Looks like even Florio has turned:

    Absent a confession or other smoking-gun evidence of tampering, the challenge for the NFL will be explaining this in a way that seems at least plausible to those inclined to believe the league office will simply brush the entire matter under the rug. Then again, some will always believe that the Patriots tampered with footballs no matter what the evidence indicates. Which means that maybe the league should have considered how hard it would be to prove tampering before pulling the pin out of the integrity-of-the-game grenade.

    Kinda goes against his approach from day one on this, but the apology looked a bit more sincere than the joke of one Kravitz gave.

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