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Thread: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

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    Default NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting


    By Mike Fish
    ESPN.com

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3363455

    Former New England Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh, who has told ESPN.com he has potentially damaging information about the team's taping practices, reached an agreement Wednesday to meet with league officials and turn over any video tapes he might have to support his allegations.

    Walsh, employed by the Patriots from 1996 through the 2002 Super Bowl and now an assistant golf pro in Hawaii, is expected to travel to New York and interview with Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL officials on Tuesday, May 13. Before the long-anticipated meeting, the agreement calls for Walsh to provide the league any tapes or materials he possesses from his years with the Patriots.

    Walsh told ESPN.com in a January interview that he had never been contacted by NFL officials during their investigation of the Patriots' illegal taping practices. It was only after his name surfaced in the media during Super Bowl week that the league attempted to reach Walsh, who worked seven years with the Patriots before being let go in January, 2003.


    The Spygate story surfaced after a Patriots' video assistant was caught illegally taping defensive signals from New York Jets assistant coaches during the 2007 season opener. The Jets knew what to look for in catching the Patriots, as head coach Eric Mangini and several assistants, including video director Steve Scarnecchia, previously worked under Bill Belichick in New England.


    "If I had a reason to want to go public or tell a story, I could have done it before this even broke," Walsh told ESPN.com in January. "I could have said everything rather than having Mangini be the one to bring it out."
    Walsh, 31, is thought to be the last and perhaps most crucial witness in the lingering Spygate saga. He expressed a willingness to speak to NFL officials back in January about insights into the Pats' taping procedures, but attorney Michael N. Levy, a white-collar crime specialist with the Washington-based firm of McKee Nelson, continued negotiating with the league until Walsh was provided full indemnification against possible lawsuits, absent intentional untruthfulness.

    "I am pleased that we now have an agreement that provides Mr. Walsh with appropriate legal protections," Levy said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Walsh is looking forward to providing the NFL with the materials he has and telling the NFL what he knows."

    The eight-page agreement requires Walsh turn over to the NFL any documents, including videotapes that relate to allegations of videotaping Patriots opponents, by May 8. His legal counsel, Levy, is allowed under the agreement to retain a copy of his document, though the materials can not be used for commercial purposes or in a manner that could "reasonably be expected to be disparaging to the NFL." Nor may Walsh or his attorney make documents available to a third party without the league's consent.


    The agreement fully indemnifies Walsh and holds him harmless against all claims, losses, liabilities, attorneys fees, costs [including travel expenses] and reasonable lost wages as a result of his former employment with the Patriots and subsequent cooperation in the NFL's videotaping investigation.


    Walsh is also required to refrain from seeking commercial gain from his involvement until fulfilling his obligations to the league. In an interesting twist, the agreement spells out that any financial gain Walsh realizes related to his involvement in Spygate over the next five years must be donated to a charity selected by the NFL and approved by Walsh.


    The agreement also stipualtes that Walsh must meet with the NFL before being interviewed by any third party, including the media. "Accordingly, Mr. Walsh will not be making any statements at this time," Levy said.


    The drawn-out negotiations between Levy and the league's outside counsel, Gregg Levy [no relation], presumably also representing the Patriots' interest, finally closed in on a deal over the past two weeks.
    The question now is whether Walsh has first-hand insight or video evidence to advance the story. Walsh has suggested he has video tapes and the agreement is written with that assumption. But if he does have tapes, what do they reveal? And how much more damaging would it be for the Patriots and Belichick?


    There's also the issue of what light, if any, he can shed on allegations that the then-underdog Patriots taped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough the afternoon before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Rumors of the taping first circulated shortly after the Spygate incident last September, and were reported by the Boston Herald, citing a single, unnamed source, on the eve of the Super Bowl.


    The Herald story cited an unidentified member of the Patriots' video staff as having filmed the Rams' final practice. Other media outlets subsequently connected Walsh to the alleged taping. ESPN.com, however, has been unable to confirm that the taping took place.
    Asked about the rumored taping, Walsh told ESPN.com: "Really, it is nothing that I care to go on the record about or talk about."


    Ever since his name surfaced, the league and the Patriots have minimized Walsh's significance to Spygate, while continuing to hit on the theme that the matter has been thoroughly investigated and that it's time to move on. Back in September, the league took away the Patriots first-round draft pick [31st pick in Saturday's college draft], while levying a $500,000 fine against Belichick and a $250,000 fine to the team.


    The story has been kept alive by Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has criticized the league's investigation -- specifically the destruction of notes and six tapes turned over by the Patriots from the 2006 season and 2007 preseason. After initially describing the illegal taping as very limited, Goodell later revealed that Belichick had admitted following the same taping practices since he took over the Patriots in 2000.


    Specter has been vocal in expressing frustration with what he views as stonewalling tactics by the league and its teams. His staff has approached individuals with both the Patriots and Jets, only to be told by team attorneys that they would not cooperate with his investigation.
    Specter will not be part of the NFL's interview of Walsh, but he and his staff will meet with him later in Washington.

    Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. He can be reached at michaeljfish@gmail.com.
    It's about time we learn the truth, whatever it may be.
    Super Bowl XLI Champions
    2000 Eastern Conference Champions





  2. #2
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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Good. The Patriots really have nothing to lose. If Walsh never came out, everyone outside of Boston would have assumed they cheated for the past 6-8 years no matter what. I'm eager to hear what he has to say.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    They did cheat for the past 6-8 years. BB publicly admitted that taping the other teams signals was standard practice since the beginning of his coaching position at NE.

    Whether or not they taped StL's practice session before the Super Bowl is what's being assumed.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    ...everyone outside of Boston would have assumed they cheated...
    Did I wake up in a bizzarro world where the Pats weren't caught cheating and penalized or something?

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil View Post
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    Did I wake up in a bizzarro world where the Pats weren't caught cheating and penalized or something?
    If you stayed at a hotel in Boston, then yes.

    To clarify, I was remarking upon video taping another teams walk through; not the practice of videotaping signals during a game.
    Last edited by Moses; 04-23-2008 at 04:39 PM.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Am I the only one who has a feeling that Walsh has nothing major?

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Am I the only one who has a feeling that Walsh has nothing major?
    It's either that, or he has tapes but no proof that he was told to make the tapes by Belichick/Pats.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Pats statement:

    The New England Patriots are pleased to learn that Matt Walsh is finally willing to come forward to meet with the NFL. We are eagerly anticipating his honest disclosures to Commissioner Goodell next month and the return of all the materials he took during his time of employment. We fully expect this meeting to conclude the league’s investigation into a damaging and false allegation that was originally levied against the team on the day before this year’s Super Bowl.

    It is important to note that there has never been a confidentiality agreement restricting Matt Walsh and no legal protections were ever necessary for him to speak to the NFL, to media outlets or to anyone else regarding his employment with the Patriots. He demanded to be released from responsibility for his statements, and after a frustrating and lengthy negotiation period, a settlement has finally been reached. Walsh has been granted a significant number of privileges through this agreement, none of which the Patriots or the NFL were obligated to give.

    At all times, we cooperated fully with the league’s investigation and stand by our initial public statement from Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008: “The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 is absolutely false.”


    http://www.patsfans.com/price/blog/?p=392

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    The question I have is what will happen if they are found guilty of this? Arrests? Fines? Loss of draft pick(s)?

    I'm in no way defending NE, I'd love to see them all rot for all I care, but what does the League intend on gaining out of this other than prevention?

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    I'm sure we put a lot of stock in the official Pat statement.

    This is an organization coached by someone who said the bylaws about taping had grey area, when in fact it was pretty black and white.

    I think Walsh does have something, I don't know what exactly, but why wait this long to lay a stinker? Him waiting out so long to get his way either means he really wants to be in the spotlight, or actually has some evidence.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    I'm sure we put a lot of stock in the official Pat statement.

    This is an organization coached by someone who said the bylaws about taping had grey area, when in fact it was pretty black and white.

    I really, really, really hope Walsh does have something, I don't know what exactly, but why wait this long to lay a stinker? Him waiting out so long to get his way either means he really wants to be in the spotlight, or actually has some evidence.
    Fixed.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    No, it really doesn't matter anymore.

    They're cheaters. They knew what plays were coming when the defense recieved the signals. They knew exactly what play to call or what audibles should be given.

    The Pats have always stretched the rules, i.e. illegal contact after 5 yds, and faking injuries to save timeouts or because they dont have anyleft.

    Walsh having something only shows that the level of which they cheat is bigger than we already know. His evidence, whatever it maybe, doesn't make them cheaters because they already are.

    Why would Walsh holdout for 2mons, just to get his way (the Pats can't touch him legally) if he didn't have a single thing?

    I have zero respect for BB, so it's not like I can lose anymore if Walsh does indeed have video evidence.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    No one, not even ESPN has been able to answer my question:

    Worst case scenario for the Pats, they cheated, what now?

    What are the options that the league will take as punishment?

    Suggestions will be fine.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    I'd assume some severe fines; a lot of $$$, and probably some high draft picks. Of course, I'd love to see their titles be stripped from the record books.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofi View Post
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    I'd assume some severe fines; a lot of $$$, and probably some high draft picks. Of course, I'd love to see their titles be stripped from the record books.
    From what I hear that records, wins, titles, etc. won't be stripped. But you can replace money. I assume like the Colts their games are already sold out seasons in advance.

    Draft picks can easily be replaced by trades, too.

    Another slap on the wrist.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    It's pretty much been assumed that if the Patriots did tape the walkthrough even though they vehemently deny it, Belichick will be suspended for at least a year by the league (or more) and probably fired by Robert Kraft.

    Then fines, and draft picks lost, etc. I also would not put it past the league to ask for the return of the Lombardi trophy. All of that seems very substantial.

    But still the truth remains that not one person has yet testified that it happened, whereas dozens of people have gone on record saying it did not happen (including Walsh's bosses and co-workers) and indicated a willingness to testify so under oath.

    At this point the likelihood of it happening is about the same likelihood as Jeff Foster leading the NBA in scoring and 3-point shooting next season.

    That is, a startling development that stands in stark contrast to all known verifiable facts.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    No it's not that far fetched.

    If it just came out of the woodwork without Spygate, then yes, you're point would be well taken, but no matter how vigorously you want to defend it, Spygate is real.

    They've already been found out as cheaters, who tried to use an excuse of the rule having a grey area when the mediaguide is very straightforward in the regulations on what type of taping teams can and cannot do during gameplay.

    Also, the league wide memo was very clear.

    But the history of them illegally taping is there, and it's not anywhere close to saying that Foster will morph into a 3pt leader.

    As far as facts, what are there? People swear what they say is truth all the time, to the media, in courts, and to their bosses, but sometimes they're just plain liars.

    You're really wanting us to believe BB that he didn't do it, when he's shown complete disregard for other taping rules/regulations?

    I really hope it's no true, 100% no bull**** hope. It will be a sad, sad day in the NFL if a team gets their trophy taken away.

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    You know what? I think since they were caught doing it, maybe that is why they didn't win it all this year. Maybe they were only allowed to take videos on their cell phones before the Super Bowl this year...

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by duke dynamite View Post
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    No one, not even ESPN has been able to answer my question:

    Worst case scenario for the Pats, they cheated, what now?

    What are the options that the league will take as punishment?

    Suggestions will be fine.
    Beyond finning them a lot of money. . . . Take away their title or at the very least put an asterisk by it in the record books. I would also suspend BB for a year (but thats just the Jets fan in me coming out)

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    Default Re: NFL, ex-Pats video assistant Walsh finally agree to Spygate meeting

    Quote Originally Posted by DrBadd01 View Post
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    Beyond finning them a lot of money. . . . Take away their title or at the very least put an asterisk by it in the record books. I would also suspend BB for a year (but thats just the Jets fan in me coming out)
    I think the heaviest thing they could do is ban Belacheat. I am not saying thats whats going to happen but the amount of media hype around this would greatly cause the NFL harm. People have already said that it would be the in the top 3 worst sports scandals.

    And shade. IF walsh didn't have anything he wouldn't have dragged this out this long. Its not like he came looking to expose the Pats. The media came after him which was do to the league doing a crappy job investigating the Pats.

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