All this DeflateGate stuff has brought back memories of SpyGate, when the NFL found that the New England Patriots had filmed the New York Jets’ defensive coaching signals from their own sideline in 2007, a violation of NFL rules (videotaping opposing coaches is allowed, but only from designated areas).
However, the Patriots never were proven to have filmed the St. Louis Rams’ walk-through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002. That assertion was made — nearly six months after the Jets incident — in a Boston Herald story that was later retracted. Still, it’s an assertion that a lot of people remember incorrectly, including some at ESPN.
“Some would say that the filming of the practices earlier that that does qualify as cheating, which is certainly something that is part of the Patriots history,” Hannah Storm said on “SportsCenter” earlier this month.
Then, a week later, came this graphic:
Steve Levy apologized on ESPN’s behalf for repeating the false assertions late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning on “SportsCenter.”
“On two occasions in recent weeks, ‘SportsCenter’ incorrectly cited a 2002 report regarding the New England Patriots and Super Bowl XXXVI,” Levy said. “That story was found to be false and should not have been part of our reporting. We apologize to the Patriots organization.”
ESPN has yet to comment on its incorrect reporting in the early stages of the DeflateGate saga, as The Post’s Cindy Boren noted earlier this month in a story about former ESPN personality Bill Simmons teeing off on the network’s coverage.
Among the many, many issues surrounding DeflateGate, one of the most basic concerned an anonymously sourced report by Chris Mortensen that 11 of the 12 footballs the New England Patriots used during the AFC championship game were under-inflated. That report set off a Hindenburgian firestorm that eventually led to the NFL-sanctioned investigation by Ted Wells and Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady.
That’s a report that has was proven to be incorrect by the Wells report and Simmons, among others, believes ESPN’s steps to set the record straight have been, sorry, meek. The original content remains uncorrected on ESPN’s site.
[H/T: CBS Boston]