Dunlap: Astros Got What Patriots Should Have

Colin Dunlap
January 14, 2020 - 3:59 pm
Brady & Belichick

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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Heavy-handed, swift and with a deep and lasting impact. 

I think we can all agree the punishment handed down from Major League Baseball to the Houston Astros for their sign-stealing chicanery would classify as such. 

The Astros got hit in the wallet, high-end draft picks were stripped and a lengthy suspension was handed down to both their general manager and manager, sullying them to the point where the owner felt the prudent move was just to tell those guys to hit the road. Get outta here – go find another job. If you can. 

Major League Baseball came down hard on cheating. Very hard.

The rippled aftermath might just rattle the franchise for years to come --- or at the very least it serves as a stern and uncompromising message to the rest of the league to knock it off if they are even remotely involved in similar behavior. 

It sure as heck serves as a stern and uncompromising message to the Houston Astros that they never, ever, ever, ever better be caught doing anything remotely like it again … or else. 

But we sit here more than a dozen seasons after the New England Patriots were first accused --- and then found guilty --- of cheating and their organization is still betrothed in an above-the-law, you-can’t-stop-us cavalier attitude and behavior that once again reared its head through a video camera lens pointed at a sideline this past season. Just ask the Cincinnati Bengals. Just ask plenty of football fans who don’t live in Boston. Just ask the smell test the Patriots seemingly continue to not be able to pass. 

You see, Roger Goodell had his Rob Manfred moment and chance with the Patriots back in 2007 when Spygate first hit. Sure, fining Bill Belichick a half-million bucks, the team half that and stripping a first-round draft pick was nice, but wouldn’t logic tell you it hasn’t been enough of a deterrent? 

It tells me as much. 

Either that or it just so happens the Patriots coincidentally keep getting caught up in nonsense and are in the wrong place at the wrong time since then. Yeah, go ahead and insert eyeroll emoji. 

If today you are questioning all the Houston Astros accomplished (and you should be) you better damn well be questioning every single accomplishment of the New England Patriots in the Belichick/Brady era. I don’t know how you couldn’t be. Systemic cheating is systemic cheating, right? 

If you are questioning if every one of Jose Altuve’s hits are legit you better be questioning if every one of Tom Brady’s completions are genuine. If you are questioning Carlos Correa’s batting average, you better be questioning the legitimacy of Rob Gronkowski’s career touchdowns. 

Back when Spygate first came to the surface and the Patriots were found guilty, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have pulled a Manfred and suspended Bill Belichick for a season. 

That was the right move. At the very least.  

Would it have forced Bob Kraft to get rid of Belichick the way the Astros ownership group speedily ousted both their general and manager? Who knows. It might have. 

A suspension of Belichick --- much like that of AJ Hinch --- would have at least given Belichick second thoughts about crossing a line in the future. 

Shame Goodell didn’t have the heart to do it. 

Shame he didn’t have the fortitude Manfred showed.  ​

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