Patriots fans sound off on Belichick and his video folly
HUDSON - When denouncing the recently alleged sideline snafu of Patriots Coach Bill Belichick as hurtful to the integrity of sports, former youth sports coach Jim Amburn invoked the Wizard of Westwood.
``John Wooden never even scouted anyone,'' said Amburn of the man who won one NCAA championship as a player and 10 as a coach. ``He just went out there and prepared his guys for what they needed to do.''
It is not scouting, but sign stealing that has the New England Patriots facing possible league penalties and an uphill PR battle for a franchise that has in the past prided itself on winning with class.
NFL security seized a video camera from a Patriots employee on the sidelines during Sunday's game against the Jets. Several media sources have reported the Patriots violated league rules that ban videotaping of defensive signals. The Patriots won the game, but may have lost the respect of some of their fans.
Yesterday, Belichick apologized to his team but would not expound upon what he was apologizing for.
Marlborough resident Tamsin Ball compared the Patriots' video trickery to an experience she had as a member of her high school field hockey team, when a rival tried to catch a glimpse of one of her team's practices with the hopes of sizing up the players and schemes for an upcoming match. Such decisions constitute bad sportsmanship, according to Ball. The opposing team, she said, was asked to leave and complied. The Jets had no such option Sunday.
``You can't be spying on the other team,'' said the 21-year-old. ``It should be a surprise when you play the game.''
Ashland resident Alcie Millard had a different take.
``Everybody does it; what's the big deal?'' said Millard, who has been a Patriots fan since she moved from Brazil 13 years ago.
Dyrick Schaefer thought NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would make an example of the Patriots because of their success in recent years. Yesterday, ESPN.com reported the forfeiture of draft picks has been discussed as a possible penalty.
``They're the No.1 target and I'm not too happy about it,'' said the Ashland resident.
Framingham resident Dawn Swann called for a bit of self-policing regarding the situation.
``I think Mr. Kraft should sideline Belichick for a game or two - just to set an example,'' she said, holding her 4-year-old daughter Olivia. ``The Patriots have never been that type of team.''
Tom Greeley, Framingham resident and Patriots fan of 48 years, agreed that Sunday's sideline snafu taints the image of the franchise. He also thought such alleged transgressions were unnecessary for the Patriots to win. Greeley thought a hefty fine would be the proper punishment for such a violation.
``It's shocking because Belichick is such a genius - he doesn't need to do this to win,'' he said.
While Roosevelt Allen thought the Patriots should be punished for such an offense, the Framingham resident rejected the potential confiscation of future draft picks as too stiff a penalty.
``You have all these guys doing steroids and drugs, and they don't lose a pick for that,'' he said.
Dan McDonald of The MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News can be reached at (508) 490-7475 and email@example.com.