Specter Says Patriots Are Not in Clear
Mon Jun 23, 2008
The New York Times reports Senator Arlen Specter clarified Thursday that his involvement in the New England Patriots' videotaping controversy was not over. Neither is his battle with the NFL. Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said in a telephone interview that his comments to the editorial board of The Philadelphia Daily News "didn't really come out with the proper flavor." "My view on the overall situation is that we may well see the other shoe drop somewhere," Specter said. "We went about as far as we could go, given the public attitude today about the economy and gas prices and Iraq. We're always very careful about initiating a Congressional investigation. But that isn't to say, by any means, it's over." Specter said he had not talked to Commissioner Roger Goodell recently, but they now hold similar positions on the videotaping controversy that came to light last September. They have promised to revisit the controversy and the Patriots should new information become available. They differ on the likelihood of new information coming out. The NFL also added provisions this off-season to strengthen enforcement of rules relating to the integrity of the game, along with eliminating most defensive signals by installing defense communications systems — similar to what the quarterback uses — next season. Specter cited other sports mired in integrity issues, including horse racing, tennis, professional basketball and Major League Baseball. Specter said that he had no immediate plans to jump into any of those issues, but added that Congress had "talked about a sports commission from time to time." "It has to be gauged very carefully in terms of public sentiment," Specter said. "Spygate really touched a nerve, beyond any question. But frankly, I'm little surprised more people weren't concerned." Specter said the controversy had renewed his interest in stadium financing, a subject about which he first introduced legislation in 1982. In the statement on the Patriots that Specter introduced into the Congressional record recently, he attached two charts — one on the NFL, one on baseball, detailing public contributions toward new stadiums. According to those figures, the public contributed $3.46 billion to 17 NFL stadiums built since 1992. Baseball's figure stood at $3.01 billion on 15 stadiums built from 1990 to 2003. "As a matter of basic fairness," Specter wrote, "the owners should have been paying for their own stadium construction without relying on the public funds desperately needed for so many other purposes."