It’s not illegal unless you’re caught on tape.
Or at least, that seems to be the road the whole “Spygate” scandal is headed down. Leave it to the New York Times to put a seemingly unethical situation into perspective with this fantastic article. Most people are very fast to bury Belichick, others are holding out hope that this will all wash over, and an even smaller portion of us are just so enraged that the media resorted to throwing a “gate” suffix at the end of another scandal that we can’t mentally progress any further.
But one option that nobody seems to have considered is that it ends up being the NFL that gets all shook up after this — not the Patriots. I mean, they have a very intense ethical dilemma on their hands here that the likes of Socrates would appreciate. It’s your classic slippery slope argument of asking where to draw the line on a particular issue. I guess the main question here isn’t Is it wrong to steal signals? but rather, Is it wrong to use a camcorder? Because if you think the first question is at the heart of this, well, let me allow the commissioner to field that one…
“I’m not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn’t expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams.”
We hear of this a lot in baseball. It’s pretty much common knowledge that if a man is on second base, that batter is going to have a clue as to what’s coming. And hell, in that sport we have national television revealing the signals, so tell me that teams don’t watch tape of opposing signs.
All I’m saying is: This isn’t as open and shut a case as it may see. The door will inevitably remain open here. And if the hammer falls on Belichick, don’t think he won’t come right back and hire some savant from Pawtucket that reads lips, hand him a pair of binoculars and a pen, and ring the bell for Round 2.