Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Feb 2008

PLEASE USE: Irrational Spygate Argument Thread

Well, we thought Spygate was dead and gone, but apparently not. So here is how we are going to work this. All discussion of Spygate, Patriots cheating, or cheating by any other team goes in this thread. It does not matter if you think the Patriots are evil, or if you think the Patriots are getting a raw deal. As we learned long ago with Brady-Manning debates, this is the only way to keep the rest of the website sane. We're suspending the rules here. Go ahead, attack each other all you want. Feel free to mention politics. (Thanks to the Senator from the great state of Pennsylvania, you pretty much don't have a choice.) Any discussion of this issue in any other discussion thread will be deleted.

The goal here is not censorship. The goal here is to make sure the discussion threads remain a good user experience.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 02 Feb 2008

951 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2008, 6:47pm by Andy Sedgwick

Comments

901
by GlennW (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 3:25pm

> Trying to act like nobody knew it was cheating during the 70s is just plain rationalization at its finest.

I didn't say there were no suspicions or reservations; I suggested that if not's written into the rules, it's worthless. A recommendation from the World Health Organization isn't going to cut it as a deterrent within a highly competitive sport. What about powerful painkillers, since banned? Or bute, now a banned carcinogen but formerly used as an anti-inflammatory steroidal? All widely used at the time.

But moreover to the bigger point-- the entire NFL really didn't experience significant steroid usage by its players well into the 1980s? Do some cursory research, man.

902
by BDC (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 3:35pm

900: So basically the Steelers "cheating" consisted of doing something that wasn't against the rules. Thanks for clearing that up BSR.

903
by GlennW (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 3:44pm

> So you are saying that because it was done by everyone and wasn’t enforced that it became ethical even though it may (Yankees) or may not (Steelers) been against the rules at a given time?

Not at all. In MLB's case the federal laws were long on the books and as such the ethical question pretty damned clear by that point. I'm just not dumb enough to pin the issue on one or even a few teams, as you're doing with the Steelers and for obvious reasons (cast out enough smokescreens as far into the past as I need to, and maybe my current problem gets lost in the haze).

You're hung up on some potential ethical question of the 1970s as a dodge against clear-cut violations of rule or law (such as the Patriots' videotaping practice). In the case of PEDs in the 1970s (and before), absolutely you're dealing with an issue where the ethics were under debate and the standards still under development. That still doesn't change the fact that this was a league-wide issue (or even problem, once the ethical question had been decided).

904
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 3:54pm

#901 - Oh please. Its not like anabolic steroids were prescribed by your local pharmacist in the 70s and are the equivalent of pain killers where there is a grey line. They knew what they were doing and that is why they were hiding it. Stop trying to hide behind written rules. Its like trying to argue that sexual harrasment isn't immoral/unethical in the 50s since there wasn't a law against it then. Its a silly stance to take.

#902 - cut & paste

Oh but wait! They were.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE5DF103AF933A15756C0A...

Or this one during their superbowl winning season of 1978. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_Pittsburgh_Steelers_season#Offseason

905
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:06pm

wow, 3 of my favorite Patriot Haters joining with Steelberger to miss the entire point. My little discussion exercise with Steelberger was in from #872, a door HE OPENED and I am free to respond to.

If you read the past few posts again, it's possible you'll find Steelberger has this belief that the Steelers have nothing in their history that equates to cheating. He makes this assertion and offers nothing to back it up. Yes, with HIS ASSERTION, the burden of proof belongs to him. I will not hold him to this standard, I'm quite aware he doesn't have the resources to prove such a claim.
My point here is not to disprove it by having him collect cups of urine or vials of blood. Nor is it to have him play in google-land to find articles and link them here. The point here is that absence of proof is not proof of absence. The point is to draw a logical conclusion.

I don't care if any of the aforementioned claims merit cheating, all of it was an acknowledgement that individual members of that team have had instances of law breaking, some of which are very bad (to which Steelberger admitted.)

Now, review the aforementioned offenses and imagine a logical progression of these offenses in a pool of all possible offenses, including legal and NFL rules, on a scale of least offensive (within reason, don't include holding penalties) to most offensive (I suppose the gun in the son's mouth or trying to off yourself with rat poison would be on the "worst" end)...and now, with a straight face, attempt to draw the conclusion that throughout the history of the Steelers, among all possible offenses, not one Steeler would have broken an NFL rule.

...and that's it, within this discussion, there's no attempt at dragging anyone anywhere, there's no attempt to compare teams or offenses. Trust me, I'm more interested in the intricacies of the thread topic. Over the last 9 months, I haven't pressed on other teams. But a Steeler fan opened this door, I'm shutting it.

So Steelberger, I wasn't 100% sure if you were just trying to be funny and troll around trying to lengthen a discussion or if you were serious. Judging by your being flustered into multiple double posts and attempts at belittlement, I'm leaning toward the latter. But either way, I don't care, I'm done with you - I understand that you don't see the connection; or if you do see it, you can't admit it. And throughout your flustered posts, you couldn't carry a serious discussion without resorting to some old internet denial tactics. Better luck next time, sport.

906
by GlennW (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:08pm

> #901 - Oh please. Its not like anabolic steroids were prescribed by your local pharmacist in the 70s and are the equivalent of pain killers where there is a grey line.

I think you'd be surprised, or may just be younger than I am; I knew kids using steroids in high school football. They apparently weren't that hard to get even before the age of Internet trafficking, and even though by then (early 1980s) the practice was admittedly suspect, the risks weren't all that well known and there simply wasn't the ethical stigma attached to the issue as exists today. Still, this is secondary to the issue of...

> Stop trying to hide behind written rules.

Whatever-- stop trying to hide behind the 1970s Steelers. You still haven't answered the question of why this issue should be focused on the Steelers, when it was a product of the era.

907
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:10pm

I’m just not dumb enough to pin the issue on one or even a few teams, as you’re doing with the Steelers and for obvious reasons (cast out enough smokescreens as far into the past as I need to, and maybe my current problem gets lost in the haze).

Who here is the one throwing up smokescreens? I never have said that the Steelers where the only ones doing it.

You’re hung up on some potential ethical question of the 1970s as a dodge against clear-cut violations of rule or law (such as the Patriots’ videotaping practice).

What am I dodging? The Patriots vediotaping was a clear-cut violation of rules. It was cheating. Again?

In the case of PEDs in the 1970s (and before), absolutely you’re dealing with an issue where the ethics were under debate and the standards still under development. That still doesn’t change the fact that this was a league-wide issue (or even problem, once the ethical question had been decided).

It was only a league wide issue after the ethical standards were established because the NFL is a league where teams have historically pushed the envelope and weren't about to risk losing the production of some of their star players for minor issues like the players long term health and well-being. People want to act like the NFL was pure before the dasterdly days of Bill Belichick and his cheating Patriots. If anyone thinks they are watching an "ethical" sport then they clearly haven't been paying attention. Focusing on Belichick as unethical as one poster has been doing with his "5 rings no cheating" is supremely and grossly myopic. In this league, nobody is that clean.

908
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:20pm

#906 - Funny, I remember the early 80s very well myself and also knew several people that took steroids. I also remember how everyone talked about roid rage, shrinking balls and unknown long term effects, but nobody ever considered them as a grey issue as you are trying to push it now.

And as for why the issue should be focused on the Steelers, well that was the only point I was trying to address. Is there some other point you would like me to address?

909
by GlennW (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:25pm

> Focusing on Belichick as unethical as one poster has been doing with his “5 rings no cheating” is supremely and grossly myopic. In this league, nobody is that clean.

Okay, I'll buy that much, and I also don't consider Belichick's offense to be historically grievous by NFL standards. I was reading too much into your statements on the 1970s Steelers, specifically.

910
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:36pm

#909 - That was about my only point. I really don't care about the topic and only looked in the thread to see if people were still talking about it. However, when I saw that phrase by Steelberger I just had to (probably foolishly) jump in. Oh well. I guess I just can't wait until training camp begins.

911
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 4:38pm

One interesting thing about this turn the debate has taken.

Earlier in this thread (and in previous threads) people were questioning why Pats fans suddenly appeared out of the woodwork to argue so vehemently on this issue.

Now two posters bring up possible cheating by the Steelers, and presto! No fewer than four or five Steelers fans appear and begin arguing vehemently--some very rationally, and others less so. We start to see some of the same arguments that Pats fans have been using--"Everyone was doing it", "it wasn't technically illegal", "some things don't give a large advtanage". Not saying that some of these aren't valid arguments, or that some are, but it's interesting.

I guess what I take away from it is that we all love our teams, and tend to get riled up when others attack them...

912
by BDC (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 7:47pm

911:

I can't speak for the other's but, I am not a Steelers fan (I think that should be obvious by now). With that said, I am still waiting to hear how doing something that isn't against the rules is cheating? I guess maybe I just don't understand how doing something that isn't prohibited by the rules is in any way comparable to doing something that is not only specifically prohibited by the rules, but has been reiterated by the league as cheating. And I don't see how anyone can say they are in any way the same thing.

913
by bsr (not verified) :: Mon, 06/02/2008 - 11:21pm

#912 - You are right BDC, videotapping signals are in no way comparable to a player artificially improving their skills through the use of drugs. Glad we can agree on this.

As for how something is considered cheating even if there isn't a specific rule against it, here is the definition of cheating:

v. intr.

To act dishonestly; practice fraud.
To violate rules deliberately, as in a game: was accused of cheating at cards.
Informal To be sexually unfaithful: cheat on a spouse.
Baseball To position oneself closer to a certain area than is normal or expected: The shortstop cheated toward second base.

Notice how the first definition says nothing about a violation of rules? That's how.

914
by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 4:39am

I hear the Chinese Communist Party contacted Belichick for some pointers on spying.

915
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 8:18am

Herm,

Sorry "sport". If anyone has failed here it is you. The only "proof" you have provided is your opinions and nothing else.

...and you know what they say about opinions.

MJK,

I personally dont care about the "everyone did it" argument. It doesnt matter if everyone did it. It was not against any rule, period. What the Pats did wasnt "technically against the rules" it was "blatantly against the rules after they had been repeatedly warned".

You can rationalize the Patriots blatant cheating all you want. It doesnt, and never will, change the minds of people who are disgusted by them.

bsr,

Notice the second definition, the one specifically about GAMES.

This argument really has no end. Think what you want.

916
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 9:48am

Definitions are not either/or. Both definitions apply. Breaking a rule is considered cheating but so is acting fraudulently. Understand?

917
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 10:54am

Ok, so by your reasoning the Patriots mauling of the Colts recievers in the AFC championship was cheating. It may not have been against the rules (actually it was) but the Patriots were acting dishonestly because they knew the refs wouldnt call the penalties.

I guess the ensuing Superbowl victory has more than one asterisk on it.

918
by BDC (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 11:00am

916:

Fraud:

1. deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
2. a particular instance of such deceit or trickery: mail fraud; election frauds.
3. any deception, trickery, or humbug: That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.
4. a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur.

Now remember, definitions are not either\or type things, so look at point three. "any deception, trickery..." So I suppose any team that runs a trick play, or even a simple fake hand off or something has committed fraud, and therefore, cheated.

Look, we can play games with words all day long, but the simple fact of the matter is, the Patriots broke the rules, and the Steelers didn't.

919
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 1:42pm

#917 - Yup, it is. So is holding by an offensive lineman that doesn't get called. Funny thing is, as you pointed out, it is cheating according to your definition as well, except your being too homerish to see it. Every team breaks the rules. Put all the astrisks you want on it, just make sure you tag those Steelers as well. They are cheaters afterall, and be heavily fined for it.

#918 - The Steelers did break the rules and were fined for it. They are dirty cheaters. Do you need me to copy and past the links again or can you just scroll up?

As for your "play with words" I think that it is you that are playing with words. If you can't see why taking performance enhancing drugs is cheating, whether against the rules or not then I can't help you. Tomorrow a doctor somewhere might develop a bionic prostetic that will help Joe QB throw further and more accurately then ever before. Since there is nothing in the rule book prohibiting such a device, I guess it would be fine and dandy with you. In my world that is cheating.

920
by GlennW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 1:45pm

"Fraud" is a stretch. I can go along to an extent with bsr's point about ethical misgivings over steroid use (although in that supposedly damning article Herm posted, Steve Courson acknowledged that steroid use was an individual choice and was not a program instituted or encouraged by the team, a la Belichick's videotaping), but for fraud to have taken place someone needed to have been duped. Were we defrauded as fans, by the entire league? I wasn't-- such drug use in football was fairly common knowledge. I could extend that argument and say that by continuing to support such a corrupt sport that we were all hypocrites, but I won't because the issue just wasn't all that clear-cut at the time.

921
by GlennW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 2:06pm

> "Since there is nothing in the rule book prohibiting such a device, I guess it would be fine and dandy with you. In my world that is cheating."

This is where we fundamentally disagree, I believe-- in highly competitive sports, you really do need such rules to define what is permissible, because no other more arbitrary boundaries are sufficient or practical. Your scenario isn't even that far-fetched; this issue has just come up in the Olympics with the so-called double-amputee "bionic sprinter" (linked). The debate over the potentially unfair technological competitive advantage is a completely fair one in my opinion, but by no means would I suggest that the guy is a "cheater" by pressing the issue to its limits. Plain and simple, that's why a sport needs rules-- no other substitute including subjective ethical judgments will otherwise suffice. No rule, no cheating.

922
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 4:50pm

Glenn, tell that to the person holding the silver medal wondering why he put in all that time and hard work when the person next to him holding the gold simply had surgery.

I understand your point about how eventually rules and guidlines have to be put in place so as to avoid confusion or oversight but while things are still being figured out, as was the case with steroids in the 70s as you pointed out, common sense prevails. Nobody can tell me with a straight face that those people shooting up dyanabol in the 70s did know their actions were exteremly questionable back then. That is why they had to pick up their doses from back room dealers and hide their use. They were frauds and they certainly cheated the guy on the bench that was trying to get there through hard work an natural ability.

Sitting back trying to Sargent Shultz the subject letting players off because they "know nothink" since there was no rule is no better then Belichick trying to say he misunderstood it. Its no excuse.

923
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 6:14pm

"5 rings, no cheating."

You really believe they beat they Cowboys fair and square?

924
by cd6! (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 8:43pm

Glenn, tell that to the person holding the silver medal wondering why he put in all that time and hard work when the person next to him holding the gold simply had surgery.
And here's the million dollar question you didn't include: did the guy holding the gold medal break the rules? Because if its not against the rules, there's all sorts of grey areas. If a pitcher who's had Tommy John surgery beats you, he didn't do it with his regular arm, was he cheating? No, because it's not against the rules. And to be totally asinine, it isn't "fraudulant" either.

Sitting back trying to Sargent Shultz the subject letting players off because they “know nothink” since there was no rule is no better then Belichick trying to say he misunderstood it. Its no excuse.

:: bsr — 6/3/2008 @ 3:50 pm
You're misrepresenting both arguments.
One side is accurately saying "it wasn't against the rules" which is undeniable, and the other side knew perfectly well what he was doing was against the rules, and his excuse about "not understanding" the rule was obviously lies.

925
by bsr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 11:45pm

And here’s the million dollar question you didn’t include: did the guy holding the gold medal break the rules? Because if its not against the rules, there’s all sorts of grey areas. If a pitcher who’s had Tommy John surgery beats you, he didn’t do it with his regular arm, was he cheating? No, because it’s not against the rules. And to be totally asinine, it isn’t “fraudulant” either.

That isn't even a coherent response to my argument. The argument again is that it doesn't need to be against the rules to be cheating. Your example about Tommy John surgery is also meaningless since it isn't improving the player but rather just putting him back to where he was. I will agree that there are grey areas, however anabolic steroids in the 70s were not one such a grey area. Sorry they were unethical cheaters.

You’re misrepresenting both arguments.
One side is accurately saying “it wasn’t against the rules” which is undeniable, and the other side knew perfectly well what he was doing was against the rules, and his excuse about “not understanding” the rule was obviously lies.

You do realize that simply repeating the same notion that using steroid was not against the rules in the 70s doesn't really counter my arguement? As you said, it is undeniable that it steroids use wasn't against the rules. It is also undeniable that it was unethical and cheating as well.

926
by BDC (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:52am

925: "Your example about Tommy John surgery is also meaningless since it isn’t improving the player but rather just putting him back to where he was"

So a player who uses steroids to recover from an injury isn't cheating, because they aren't improving themselves, just getting back to where they were? Actually, wasn't this Harrison's defense?

"It is also undeniable that it was unethical and cheating as well."

Obviously, the simple fact that there are people denying it proves that it is in fact deniable.

Let me give you an example. The tuck game. A lot of people bitched about the Pats retaining possession of the ball on what they felt was a pretty obvious fumble. I thought it was a correct ruling. Certainly one could argue that the rule *shouldn't* be on the books, never the less, that is the rule, and you can't whine about the rules after the fact. Likewise, perhaps steroids *should* have been against the rules back then. Never the less, they weren't.

You agree that it wasn't against the rules. Yet you keep saying it was cheating to do something that wasn't against the rules! How can that possibly be cheating?

927
by bsr (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 12:41pm

"So a player who uses steroids to recover from an injury isn’t cheating, because they aren’t improving themselves, just getting back to where they were? Actually, wasn’t this Harrison’s defense?"

At an ethical level I think that is true. However, in practice and enforcement there is no way to tell if and what extent the player intends to use the drug. At what point does repair end and enhancement begin? Who knows, that is why for practical reasons all use of HGH is banned.

Let me give you an example. The tuck game. A lot of people bitched about the Pats retaining possession of the ball on what they felt was a pretty obvious fumble. I thought it was a correct ruling. Certainly one could argue that the rule *shouldn’t* be on the books, never the less, that is the rule, and you can’t whine about the rules after the fact. Likewise, perhaps steroids *should* have been against the rules back then. Never the less, they weren’t.

Interesting example although probably not the best since you cant really "cheat" the tuck rule. One key difference between the two subjects, however, is that in the case of one (Tuck) the terms of the rule were not changed while in the case of the other (steroids) the rules were changed. How would history view that Patriots win and later SB win if that rule was reviewed, found to be silly and changed the following year? I think many might view those Steelers championships in the same light. You can't really take away what the accomplished nor are they deserving of an asterisk or something else silly like that but they will always have that cloud of doubt about them.

You agree that it wasn’t against the rules. Yet you keep saying it was cheating to do something that wasn’t against the rules! How can that possibly be cheating?

Look if you want this to be a productive discussion you actually have to try and read and understand what I have written rather then repeat the same points over and over again that really have nothing to do with my argument. Again:

- There are multiple definitions to cheating.

- One definition is specific about the breaking of rules, the other is more general regarding acting dishonestly or fraudulently.

- I am calling them cheaters under the second definition where as their actions were dishonest or fraudulent.

- I consider them to be acting dishonest/fraudulent since:
a. the taking of steriods was a questional activity back then as evidenced by the World Health Organization and the actions of the Olympic committee.

b. These drugs weren't taken ignorantly under the prescription of doctor or trainer where the player had no clue that they would artificially enhance their strength/performance. They purchased them secretly from dealers, in my opinion, because they knew what they were doing was wrong.

c. They artificially enhanced their strength/performance on the field to the detriment of other players who weren't taking such enhancement and had a significant effect on the game.

I can't state it any more plainly then that. It has nothing to do with the rules nor does it need to since it is not in the primary definition. If you have a problem with the meaning of the word, then take it up with Webster or American Heritage. Now if you have a counter to any of my points of logic above, namely why their actions may have been honest or ethical, then I'd be glad to hear those.

928
by BDC (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 2:06pm

927:

Careful, we are getting dangerously close to rational discussion now :)

"One key difference between the two subjects, however, is that in the case of one (Tuck) the terms of the rule were not changed while in the case of the other (steroids) the rules were changed. How would history view that Patriots win and later SB win if that rule was reviewed, found to be silly and changed the following year?"

I don't think so at all. If the rule was found stupid and changed, then that in no way changes the fact that the game was won by the Pats fairly, according to the rules at the time. Lots of things were legal back in the 70s that aren't legal now. None of that changes anything. If we were to retroactively apply current rules to past games, then there would be no one left to claim a SB except for the most recent winners. 1974 restricted what could be done to receivers. Does that mean that anyone who employed those now illegal tactics prior to 1974 "cheated"? Further blocking and defensive changes were made in 1977. Does that mean that anyone who employed those tactics prior to 1977 "cheated"?
1978 saw a dramatic reduction in the amount of contact allowed between defenders and receivers past 5 yards. Does that mean that any team that did this prior to 1978 "cheated"?
The list goes on and on....I am not going to list every single major rule change. The point is though, that no, you can't penalize a team after the fact for doing something that was withing the rules at the time they did it.

"I am calling them cheaters under the second definition where as their actions were dishonest or fraudulent."

Yes, but then as mentioned, anyone who runs a play fake is "cheating", as they are deceiving, being dishonest, and acting "fraudulently".

regarding your three points:

a. These guys weren't playing in the Olympics, so the opinion that the Olympic committee might have held doesn't matter.

b. Why they did it or how they did it doesn't matter. It wasn't against the rules. Going back to point a., if everyone knew it was "wrong", why wasn't there simply a rule against it?

c. If a player goes to the gym and works out, they are "artificially" enhancing their ability to the detriment of other players who choose not to work out. Certainly there is a difference between the two. The former is against the rules, and the latter is not. But, at the time they did it, the former was NOT against the rules. So there is no difference.

929
by bsr (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 3:41pm

I am not going to list every single major rule change. The point is though, that no, you can’t penalize a team after the fact for doing.

And nor do I think the Steelers or their players should be penalized. Its in the past and it would be silly to punish them now in any way shape or form. I respect the hell out of what they accomplished and think they are still one of the greatest collection of players ever. That being said, they will still have this cloud of steroids over their heads and people will always have a "yeah but" when it comes to a discussion of how great they really were.

As for the changing rules and how its viewed its also a matter of degrees and causation. Bump and run rules were changed to promote scoring, the tuck rule would be changed because it was poorly worded or applied, the steriod rules changed because they were cheating. Again, its probably not the best examples because there are more disimilarities then there are similarities, so I think I can suggest a better one. Look at the single season home run record in baseball. Even though steroids were not against the rules back when the records were broken nobody looks back on that record the same way they did when it first happened. Its now tied with scandel and disgrace and yet it wasn't against the rules back then.

Yes, but then as mentioned, anyone who runs a play fake is “cheating”, as they are deceiving, being dishonest, and acting “fraudulently”.

Not really as it is an implicit and accepted part of the game. In other words, its as if there are rules saying that this is fine. It isn't like nobody knows playfakes or misdirection plays are going to happen. At no time were Steroids an implicit or accepted part of the game, which is why many of the anologies to rule changes fall short.

a. These guys weren’t playing in the Olympics, so the opinion that the Olympic committee might have held doesn’t matter.

b. Why they did it or how they did it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t against the rules. Going back to point a., if everyone knew it was “wrong”, why wasn’t there simply a rule against it?

c. If a player goes to the gym and works out, they are “artificially” enhancing their ability to the detriment of other players who choose not to work out. Certainly there is a difference between the two. The former is against the rules, and the latter is not. But, at the time they did it, the former was NOT against the rules. So there is no difference.

a. The reference to the Olympics is to show that steroids were controvertial at the time and not like the effects were unknown as someone tried to paint them earlier.

b. Sure it does, it goes to show that these players knew what they were doing was unethical. Relate it to your personal or buisness life, is there any activities that you regularly keep secret and would still be considered ethical? Again this is trying to show that they knowingly decieved as opposed to inadvertantly taking something beyond their knowledge.

c. The only difference is not simply their status in the rule book. Surely you can see that? Logically, if that were the only difference then they would either both be against the rules or both be in the rules. So I will awnser this with a question to you. Why do you think steroids are banned and working out is not?

930
by BDC (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 6:27pm

"As for the changing rules and how its viewed its also a matter of degrees and causation. Bump and run rules were changed to promote scoring, the tuck rule would be changed because it was poorly worded or applied, the steriod rules changed because they were cheating."

This is circular logic. You have arbitrarily declared that steroid use, despite not being against the rules at the time, was cheating, and as proof have shown that they did change the rules. The very fact that they changed the rules to include it though means it wasn't cheating! By that same logic, I could say that any DB that hit a WR after 5 yards prior to 1978 was cheating, because the rule was changed to make it against the rules.

"Look at the single season home run record in baseball. Even though steroids were not against the rules back when the records were broken nobody looks back on that record the same way they did when it first happened. Its now tied with scandel and disgrace and yet it wasn’t against the rules back then."

I'm not sure which record you are referring to, as it has been set several times. Do you mean Bonds? He is looked down upon because it was against the rules. No one cares about a guy like Marris because whether or not he did steroids (and I don't even know if they were around at the time) doesn't matter, as they weren't against the rules at the time. Sorry if I am spelling names wrong, I'm not much of a baseball fan so....

"Not really as it is an implicit and accepted part of the game. In other words, its as if there are rules saying that this is fine. It isn’t like nobody knows playfakes or misdirection plays are going to happen. At no time were Steroids an implicit or accepted part of the game, which is why many of the anologies to rule changes fall short."

I don't see it that way. It isn't against the rules, so it can be done. Well, back then anyway. In any case, from everything I have read, it WAS reasonable to assume your opponent was taking steroids, so I think this fails in that regard, as well. It seems like you are arbitrarily picking which legal activities the players were supposed to not do, and which legal activities the players are allowed to do, somewhat arbitrarily, and somewhat to fit your point. At the end of the day, if it isn't against the rules, it isn't cheating. Now, you can say it as many times as you want, but there it is. Unethical? Perhaps. Poor sportsmanship even? Perhaps. Cheating? No way.

"The reference to the Olympics is to show that steroids were controvertial at the time and not like the effects were unknown as someone tried to paint them earlier."

What difference does that make though? I would guess getting beat down by 300 pound men is pretty controversial too, but if it isn't against the rules, then who cares?

"Sure it does, it goes to show that these players knew what they were doing was unethical. Relate it to your personal or buisness life, is there any activities that you regularly keep secret and would still be considered ethical?"

Certainly. 5 years ago I was given medication for a minor condition I was suffering. I sure as hell didn't go around telling anyone about it. Not because taking a legally prescribed drug was controversial, but simply because it is no one else's business what medication I take. Two years ago I had surgery, and everyone wanted to know what for. Again, I didn't tell anyone, because quite frankly, it is no one else's business. This sort of thing happens all the time.

"The only difference is not simply their status in the rule book. Surely you can see that? Logically, if that were the only difference then they would either both be against the rules or both be in the rules. So I will awnser this with a question to you. Why do you think steroids are banned and working out is not?"

Yes, of course, NOW they are different, because one is against the rules and the other isn't. That is the whole point. At the time, neither was against the rules, and so neither was cheating. Now one is against the rules, and so that one is cheating.

In any case, you have done a masterful job of deflecting attention off of the cheating Pats onto another team in this thread. I do congradulate you :)

931
by bsr (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 7:00pm

This is circular logic. You have arbitrarily declared that steroid use, despite not being against the rules at the time, was cheating, and as proof have shown that they did change the rules. The very fact that they changed the rules to include it though means it wasn’t cheating! By that same logic, I could say that any DB that hit a WR after 5 yards prior to 1978 was cheating, because the rule was changed to make it against the rules.

Only in your narrow definition of the word. Again, take it up with Webster if you have a problem with the definition. Again, they felt that steriods was cheating which is why they made a rule against it. It isn't like the 5 yard chuck rule which was implemented to encourage offense.

I’m not sure which record you are referring to, as it has been set several times. Do you mean Bonds? He is looked down upon because it was against the rules. No one cares about a guy like Marris because whether or not he did steroids (and I don’t even know if they were around at the time) doesn’t matter, as they weren’t against the rules at the time. Sorry if I am spelling names wrong, I’m not much of a baseball fan so….

For those not living in caves ;) , Marris' record was broken by McGuire and then Bonds with the help of steroids when they were not against the rules of baseball. Despite that, people still look down on both because of their cheating.

I don’t see it that way. It isn’t against the rules, so it can be done. Well, back then anyway. In any case, from everything I have read, it WAS reasonable to assume your opponent was taking steroids, so I think this fails in that regard, as well. It seems like you are arbitrarily picking which legal activities the players were supposed to not do, and which legal activities the players are allowed to do, somewhat arbitrarily, and somewhat to fit your point. At the end of the day, if it isn’t against the rules, it isn’t cheating. Now, you can say it as many times as you want, but there it is. Unethical? Perhaps. Poor sportsmanship even? Perhaps. Cheating? No way.

As many times as I want to say it? You seem to be the one having the issue with the dictionary. Take it up with them. I can show their actions to be dishonest and fraudulent which fits the definition pefectly. They cheated.

What difference does that make though? I would guess getting beat down by 300 pound men is pretty controversial too, but if it isn’t against the rules, then who cares?

Who cares? I guess people with the a sense of morals or integrity. You do understand that it is these people that push to make rules, right? They don't just make up rules, they actually have reasoning and thought process behind them.

Certainly. 5 years ago I was given medication for a minor condition I was suffering. I sure as hell didn’t go around telling anyone about it. Not because taking a legally prescribed drug was controversial, but simply because it is no one else’s business what medication I take. Two years ago I had surgery, and everyone wanted to know what for. Again, I didn’t tell anyone, because quite frankly, it is no one else’s business. This sort of thing happens all the time.

So you think they did this in hiding because they were embarassed about a medical condition? Really thats what you think?

Yes, of course, NOW they are different, because one is against the rules and the other isn’t. That is the whole point. At the time, neither was against the rules, and so neither was cheating. Now one is against the rules, and so that one is cheating.

Why?

In any case, you have done a masterful job of deflecting attention off of the cheating Pats onto another team in this thread. I do congradulate you :)

What's to debate? They cheated, they were caught and were fined, just like the Steelers. I don't know why it is more difficult for Steelers fans to come to terms with the history of cheating with their own team.

932
by BDC (not verified) :: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 9:46pm

"Again, they felt that steriods was cheating which is why they made a rule against it."

Which means it wasn't cheating before it was made against the rules. Come on. If it was cheating before they made it against the rules, they wouldn't need to make a rule against it, now would they?

You keep calling it cheating, but no matter how unethical it may have (or may not have) been, if it isn't against the rules, it isn't cheating. If what you are saying is correct, we wouldn't need rules at all. We could just make it all up as we go along.

"Marris’ record was broken by McGuire and then Bonds with the help of steroids when they were not against the rules of baseball."

I was under the impression that it was both against the rules, as well as illegal. But then, as I mentioned, I am not a baseball fan so....no real response to this.

"Take it up with them. I can show their actions to be dishonest and fraudulent which fits the definition pefectly. They cheated."

We can go over this as many times as you like, but nothing is going to change. Being dishonest in a sport is not cheating if it isn't against the rules. Once again, running a trick play is being dishonest too, and I doubt if anyone would consider that cheating. Yet by your definition of "any dishonest activity" is cheating, running a simple play action pass is cheating.

"Who cares? I guess people with the a sense of morals or integrity. You do understand that it is these people that push to make rules, right? They don’t just make up rules, they actually have reasoning and thought process behind them."

Yes, and they didn't, at the time, think there was reason enough to make a rule against it.

"So you think they did this in hiding because they were embarassed about a medical condition? Really thats what you think?"

I have no idea what they thought, and the simple fact of the matter is, neither do you. You can make assumptions all you want, but you know what they say about those. In any case, you asked why someone might do that, and I offered a possible reason. That is all. Some people just don't like other people knowing what they are doing.

"Why?"

Why what? Why is it now cheating when guys like Harrison dope? Well, because it is against the rules. It wasn't against the rules then, so then it wasn't cheating. *why* it is or isn't against the rules doesn't really matter; there are a lot of stupid rules in a lot of sports. I am not really sure what you are asking here.

"What’s to debate? They cheated, they were caught and were fined, just like the Steelers."

They were fined for steroids? I have to admit, I am asking this as a sincere question as I really don't know the answer, but I am under the impression that they never were punished for it, as it wasn't cheating. I could be wrong though.

"I don’t know why it is more difficult for Steelers fans to come to terms with the history of cheating with their own team."

Not being a Steelers fan, I can't really address this point too well, though I think the Steelers fan from earlier can probably give a good summation. Probably what I would say if I WAS a Steelers fan, is that however much you want to declare something that wasn't against the rules is cheating, it isn't. But that is just a guess.

933
by bsr (not verified) :: Thu, 06/05/2008 - 12:08am

Which means it wasn’t cheating before it was made against the rules. Come on. If it was cheating before they made it against the rules, they wouldn’t need to make a rule against it, now would they?

If it wasn't cheating before they made the rule then why would they even need to make a rule?

You keep calling it cheating, but no matter how unethical it may have (or may not have) been, if it isn’t against the rules, it isn’t cheating.

Except for those pesky things called "definitions".

We can go over this as many times as you like, but nothing is going to change.

You are correct, it won't change. No matter how many times you type it to the contrary the definition of cheating still has not changed. I actually just checked and yes I am still correct.

Yes, and they didn’t, at the time, think there was reason enough to make a rule against it.

Maybe because the rule makers didn't know how prevelent it was because of all those cheating cheaters keeping it hidden so well.

Why what? Why is it now cheating when guys like Harrison dope? Well, because it is against the rules. It wasn’t against the rules then, so then it wasn’t cheating. *why* it is or isn’t against the rules doesn’t really matter; there are a lot of stupid rules in a lot of sports. I am not really sure what you are asking here.

You think the ban against steroids is a stupid rule and really have no idea why it would be inacted? Seriously?

They were fined for steroids? I have to admit, I am asking this as a sincere question as I really don’t know the answer, but I am under the impression that they never were punished for it, as it wasn’t cheating. I could be wrong though.

I was refering to their other violations where they broke the rules, were caught and were punished.

Probably what I would say if I WAS a Steelers fan, is that however much you want to declare something that wasn’t against the rules is cheating, it isn’t.

Unless of course, you just happen to read the definition of the word.

934
by JMM (not verified) :: Thu, 06/05/2008 - 8:42am

Not all performance enhancing substances are banned, hmmm good coffee this morning.

935
by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 06/05/2008 - 11:18am

> For those not living in caves ;) , Marris’ record was broken by McGuire and then Bonds with the help of steroids when they were not against the rules of baseball.

That's absolutely incorrect. As a federally banned controlled substance, anabolic steroids were also banned by MLB by as early as 1990, on the books and in writing. This is an important distinction (to me at least-- probably not to you as you're reliant on a more subjective "code of ethics" around a given situation). Sure, there was no testing program in place in MLB, but there was no testing program for cocaine either, yet under the same rules players were suspended for cocaine use if caught. And there's currently no testing program in the NFL for HGH, but we still know it's against the rules. Yes, that distinction matters, and matters significantly.

Still, I understand your basic point on unethical behavior around a sporting endeavor, although I find it rather specious and meaningless as applied to the so-called Spygate. The problem is that your standard is being arbitrarily applied to a specific team based on the anecdotal evidence around a few individuals to the exclusion of the entire remainder of the league (as opposed to the Patriots' situation involving systematic cheating by their head coach). There's no end to the application of that kind of logic. Nick Kaczur was just busted by the feds for possession (and apparent extensive use) of the powerful, addictive, *banned* painkiller Oxycontin-- I hereby personally invalidate all Patriots' accomplishments for the 2006-07 seasons in which Kaczur was on the team, including their undefeated 2007 season. Hey, that's my right-- the entire team wasn't clean for the 16-0 record, so I'm slapping on an asterisk.

I believe it's only been your point all along that no team in the NFL is squeaky clean, and while that's true, it's a rather meaningless one because it's an impossible standard to meet where individual players are concerned, as opposed to the head coach and the decision-making powers of the organization. If you dig far enough, maybe every championship team in NFL history can be used to downplay the "calculated and deliberate" actions of one Bill Belichick. It's a weak defense though.

936
by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 06/05/2008 - 11:48am

> They were fined for steroids?

Of course they weren't. bsr is referring to the shoulder pad practice-- guilty as charged, let the punishment fit the crime. When Lyle Alzado and others were dropping dead, the NFL didn't say, hey, no problem, this is only a Pittsburgh Steelers problem; let's chew them out publicly, fine their coach $500k and take away their first-round draft pick. The league simply addressed a glaring problem and a gaping hole in its rules, with the rules clarification being critical. Before that, apparently unethical behavior and "cheating" ran rampant, which tends to happen in the absence of rule or law.

937
by bsr (not verified) :: Thu, 06/05/2008 - 5:57pm

That’s absolutely incorrect. As a federally banned controlled substance, anabolic steroids were also banned by MLB by as early as 1990, on the books and in writing. This is an important distinction (to me at least– probably not to you as you’re reliant on a more subjective “code of ethics” around a given situation). Sure, there was no testing program in place in MLB, but there was no testing program for cocaine either, yet under the same rules players were suspended for cocaine use if caught. And there’s currently no testing program in the NFL for HGH, but we still know it’s against the rules. Yes, that distinction matters, and matters significantly.

Where they? I actually tried to look it up but couldn't find anything on it. So it is my bad if that is the case.

Still, I understand your basic point on unethical behavior around a sporting endeavor, although I find it rather specious and meaningless as applied to the so-called Spygate. The problem is that your standard is being arbitrarily applied to a specific team based on the anecdotal evidence around a few individuals to the exclusion of the entire remainder of the league (as opposed to the Patriots’ situation involving systematic cheating by their head coach). There’s no end to the application of that kind of logic. Nick Kaczur was just busted by the feds for possession (and apparent extensive use) of the powerful, addictive, *banned* painkiller Oxycontin– I hereby personally invalidate all Patriots’ accomplishments for the 2006-07 seasons in which Kaczur was on the team, including their undefeated 2007 season. Hey, that’s my right– the entire team wasn’t clean for the 16-0 record, so I’m slapping on an asterisk.

You may have missed were I stated the following:

"I think many might view those Steelers championships in the same light. You can’t really take away what the accomplished nor are they deserving of an asterisk or something else silly like that but they will always have that cloud of doubt about them."

The whole asterisk thing is silly whether it applies to steroids, cap violations or video tapping signals. None of those things invalidates the teams accomplishments in any of those cases, at least in my opinion. I have always been consistent in that regards.

As for Nick Kazur and his addiction to pain killers, feel free to think whatever you like, simply be consistent about it and think the same way about Brett Favre as well. Also note that I am not making any assumptions that the Steelers where the only team taking them. They were the only team specifically referenced in this instance. Heck, I am sure there were Patriots that were taking them as well at the time and they were cheaters too. That better?

If you dig far enough, maybe every championship team in NFL history can be used to downplay the “calculated and deliberate” actions of one Bill Belichick. It’s a weak defense though.

In fact its no defense at all. Some people simply need to have their eyes opened to the actions of their own favorite teams before they go around preaching about how squeaky clean they are, since they are not.

938
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Sat, 06/07/2008 - 3:03pm

5 rings, no calculated and systematic 7 year run of cheating (in the form of blatantly disregarding written rules) followed by a record fine and loss of a first round draft pick.

There. Is that better?

939
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 06/11/2008 - 2:18pm

This just in: NYG staff SB rings stolen. (link at my name) Was it a coincidence that they were stolen in Massachusetts? I think not. The big shock is that the players' and coaches' rings weren't stolen too!

Unless it was an inside job by a Pats fan who worked there, the Pats probably had a security camera at EA Dion Inc tapped so they knew when to send in their commandos to steal the whole freakin' safe (and who is strong enough to steal a whole freakin' safe? Football players of course--especially steroid-shootin' Raiders and Steelers from the 70s!)

940
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 06/12/2008 - 9:43am

Bobman...most of us using the spygate thread would never lend ourselves to speculation or rumormongering. But if you look at your article, and read my link to a 2006 article, you'll find a suspiciously similar M.O. using the disarming of the alarm system, a hole in the roof, all over a weekend.
Then ask yourself, just who in the Foxboro area would want to steal prescription painkillers AND deny the New York Giants organization their Superbowl rewards?
I haven't seen ANYTHING in the news recently that would suggest a connection.

941
by JMM (not verified) :: Fri, 06/13/2008 - 8:30am

Herm?

Interesting... And the recent fire at Universal Films, more evidence being destroyed???

942
by ineedawittyname (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:38am

I can't believe we still need this thread around here. IT'S OVER GUYS!!!

943
by CoachDave (not verified) :: Wed, 07/02/2008 - 5:49pm

I agree with ineedawittyname.

Let's kill this thread.

Time for everyone to move on...or for Pats fans...get your heads out of the sand.

/I keed, I keed
//Ducks

944
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 07/03/2008 - 2:33pm

Only 944 posts. You're all worthless and weak. I had the over at 1,000. Now I owe Belichick $20 and Rodney Harrison some respect.

945
by inkakola (not verified) :: Wed, 07/23/2008 - 6:23pm

last

946
by L.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 07/24/2008 - 12:38pm

Something tells me, the pats are at it again... Belichek isnt going to take a superbowl loss lightly... He's planning something, who knows, maybe Mangini is still secretly working for him and using the Jets as mere pawns in his NFL game of cheating chess

947
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 4:22am

945 that was damn funny.

948
by halftime (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 5:20pm

What if i don't talk about spygate? will my post be deleted from this board because i want to talk about the hall of fame game.

949
by Etheone (not verified) :: Wed, 08/20/2008 - 8:36am

Alright already... it least can we change the title to something other than Irrational spygate etc... the act did accur, and the title is inappropriate.

950
by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 08/24/2008 - 5:40pm

949:

The thread is for irrational arguments about Spygate. #946 is doing it the right way.

951
by Andy Sedgwick (not verified) :: Wed, 11/19/2008 - 6:47pm

Peyton > Eli
'nuff said