It won't be as easy as the Patriots think to "put all this" behind them:
"It's over. We're moving on."
So said New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick during Friday's televised news conference about the videotaping dirty tricks used against the New York Jets. The tactic cost him and his team $750,000 in fines. The Pats also lose a first-round draft choice if they make the playoffs, a second- and third-round pick if they don't.
Sorry Coach. What Belichick (and other politicians and CEOs caught in scandals) doesn't realize is he doesn't decide when the story is over. It's the media, fans, coaches and players who make that decision.
When I did my earlier post about the Pats, I was so amused by my blame-it-all-on-Bush put-on that I forgot to make a serious point. Someone caught cheating is usually judged for more than just the single incident involved. Every seemingly honest acheivement from the past is also brought into question. In the Patriots' case, their Super Bowl success is now suspect, and Tom Brady's accomplishments will carry an asterisk, at least in fans' minds. As any cheated-upon spouse can attest, an indiscretion can be forgiven, but the trust will never be there again.