By: John Molori
September 15, 2007

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THIS WEEK:

- Belichick's bane
- McDonough's Mission

Belichick's punishment an end and a beginning; Get involved with the McDonough Foundation online auction

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handed down his punishment to Bill Belichick and the Patriots. It was harsh, too harsh in my opinion, but in line with Sheriff, I mean, Commissioner Goodell's quest to change the NFL from midnight in Amsterdam to Mr. Rogers' Land of Make Believe.

In a move that can only be described as Nixonian, a Patriots staffer was caught videotaping the Jets sideline during the first quarter of last Sunday's game. Quartergate has resulted in a $500,000 fine for Belichick and a $250,000 fine for the Patriots. New England will also lose a first round draft pick if they make the postseason or a second and third if they don't.

The punishments should put an end to the cheating chatter, depending on geography. Nationally, this is a story with legs, arms and a torso. It's the kind of story that Belichick's enemies will hold and feed. Mark my words. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl come February, there will be more than a few people who say they do not deserve the title because of Quartergate.

Listening to SIRIUS satellite radio it's clear that most fans around the country were hoping not only for a suspension, but a public hanging for Belichick. Typical.

Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer said that fellow coaches and GM's around the NFL are outraged that Belichick was not suspended for his deeds. Glazer also disagreed with Belichick's claim that the taping did not give New England a competitive while the game was in progress.

Obviously, the Pats would have benefited from the tape in future games with the Jets, but what Belichick said in his statement was absolutely true. No matter, Belichick is cooked. He will never live this down nationally no matter how many more Super Bowls he wins.

Locally, it will be another story altogether. The Patriots have cultivated a truly symbiotic relationship with the regional media. They make their players available and they have been at the forefront of multimedia accessibility and information. Granted, Belichick would choose scurvy over a press conference, but the franchise as a whole is very accommodating.

The Kraft family is a model of media friendliness, and other franchises have followed suit, including the owners of the Red Sox. Case in point is the following quote. "I'm here to get my fair share of money. My main priority is to stay healthy and be able to make money, not to go out and try and hurry up and win a championship this year (at the risk of injury).

"It's not like I'm hurrying up and going back to the closer's role because we have a good team this year and I'm going to blow (my arm) out and try and win as many games as we can (at any cost). No, it's not going to happen."

The above quote was from Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in a May Boston Herald column by Rob Bradford. The quote was largely dismissed by the local media and now is not even a footnote.

Can you even begin to imagine what the media reaction around here would have been if Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez or any Red Sox foe had uttered those words?

Can you even begin to imagine the utter outrage that would have flowed from the lips of the likes of WEEI gabber Steve Buckley, a staunch Nomar basher, or FSN's Greg Dickerson, who routinely questioned the honesty and integrity of Martinez?

Subsequently, on FSN's "Friendly's Scoop with Jonathan Papelbon," Dickerson did everything but give Papelbon a shiatsu massage. He allowed Papelbon to "clarify" his comments and nearly had a full-blown panic attack as he d efended the young pitcher.

What Papelbon said was absolutely heinous within the realm of team sports, but it doesn't matter because he is always quick to chat with Tina Cervasio on NESN after the game and has a sponsored segment on FSN.

It will be the same for Belichick. He is a regular guest on WEEI and his players regularly appear on that station, 890 ESPN Boston, FSN, WBZ and other stations.

Boston is known as perhaps the toughest media city in sports, but for the likes of Papelbon and Belichick, it's a walk in the park. Maybe, in this case, Boston has it right. Belichick screwed up, apologized and will pay the price. That should be the final act of this play. Nationally, however, the drama for Belichick has just begun.

Awesome Auction

ESPN football play-by-play man and local broadcasting legend Sean McDonough will be hosting his 6th Annual Sean McDonough Charitable Foundation fundraising events. "Our Celebrity Golf Classic is Monday (September 17) at the Oaks Course at the International in Bolton," explains McDonough.

"We have the Samuel Adams Celebrity Draw Party and Auction the night before at the Boston Harbor Hotel. It is at the Draw Party that we do our auction, and unfortunately this year our party will be going on at the same time as the Red Sox-Yankees and Patriots-Chargers games, so we are losing some of our bidders to those games."

Because of the scheduling issues, fans can bid for a host of excellent items online at seanmcdonoughfoundation.org. Says McDonough, "A number of people asked if they could receive the auction booklet via email and bid on-line because they know that we always have some great stuff, so we decided we would take bids on our website and open it up to the public."

"We have raised $1.56 million dollars which we have distributed to 86 children's charities throughout Massachusetts in the past five years. All of the money raised goes directly to charity. We have no employees, no executive directors, secretaries, just a volunteer army trying to help the most needy children in our state."

Among the items up for bid is a golf outing with PGA pro Brad Faxon, dinner with Matt Damon, a day inside the ropes at a PGA event with David Feherty, trips to the 2008 ESPY Awards, two rounds of golf at Oakmont and much more.

Fans can bid online until 3pm this Sunday. The highest online bids will serve as the opening bids on all live and silent auction items at the Samuel Adams Celebrity Draw Party and Auctions on Sunday.

"I'd encourage you to go to the website and look around," says McDonough. "I think you'll be very impressed by what you see. Some of the auction items are incredible. You will be helping literally thousands of kids who could really use our help."

John Molori's columns are published in Boston Sports Review, Boston Baseball Magazine, New England Hockey Journal, BostonSportsMedia.com, BostonSportz.com, PatsFans.com and several newspapers and websites throughout New England. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.


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