FRAMe (Central Resource to Refute Cameragate Baloney)

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by shmessy, Dec 31, 2010.

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  1. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Framing the Debate
    Fans for Responsible and Accurate Media (FRAMe) was conceived in early 2008, by football fans insistent on accuracy in media accounts of “Cameragate.”

    The group’s acronym touches on its mission: to help frame the debate on “Cameragate.” Any news story is presented within a frame of reference, with an agreed-upon reality underlying each story. This is problematic enough when the news media are concerned; in the case of the sports media, accountability is less stringent, and the bar is lower.

    FRAMe focuses on correcting errors taken as fact in the “Cameragate” narrative – such as the myth that the NFL circulated a memo regarding videotaping prior to the 2007 season. So many stories by now have responded to the Patriots’ behavior “after the off-season memo was circulated…,” that it has become an almost arcane footnote that the memo in question was circulated in the 2006 off-season. (See FRAMe Backgrounder: “Offseason” memo was in 2006, not 2007.)

    In short, a simplified consensus narrative has emerged regarding “Cameragate,” a narrative which may be palatable to a variety of interests, but is simply wrong. The narrative makes “spying” the core of the debate, when in fact spying has been part of the game for decades; paints Bill Belichick as a scofflaw, who read a memo and scant weeks later, flagrantly violated it, when no other teams would dream of doing so; and, above all, elevates selective enforcement on the part of the League, selective reporting on behalf of the sports media, and selective outrage on the part of Sen. Arlen Specter, as public services in pursuit of the truth all fans need to know.

    FRAMe uses the word “Cameragate” rather than “Spygate” advisedly. The Patriots are not, in fact, accused of “Spying” (which is not a rules breach), but of “spying in a particular way using a camera,” which (sometimes) is.

    FRAMe takes no stand on whether or not hearings should be held on the Senate floor. Rather, FRAMe insists that the sports media and the national news media pursue any resulting story with the same zeal and cynical eye they would turn to events of national importance. Certainly, one “frame” for such hearings is the picture of crusading Senators speaking truth to power. Another “frame” is the phenomenon of McCarthyism. FRAMe urges the sports media to remember to ask qui bene?, and urges the sports media to “follow the money.”

    FRAMe is happy to supply the news and sports media with fact sheets regarding the “Cameragate” narrative, and aims to source any such resources thoroughly. Members of the sports media are invited – and encouraged – to use FRAMe as a resource for presenting “the other side of the story.”
  2. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Section 2 FRAME
    Taping Timeline###
    “Offseason Memo” Was in 2006, Not 2007
    It was a storied AFC East franchise, a winner of multiple Super Bowls. The head coach, a curmudgeon who’d been known to antagonize the media, was under fire. The National Football League had released a memo that very offseason warning against illegal videotaping. Yet he was in possession of a tape of a divisional rival, one he had just vanquished by an overwhelming score.

    The year: 2006. The coach: Nick Saban. The team: The Miami Dolphins.

    The familiar scenario and surprising punch-line underscore some of the most commonly repeated errors in the current “cameragate” controversy surrounding the New England Patriots, and their head coach, Bill Belichick.

    Since the beginnings of the Patriots’ troubles in September 2007, it has been widely reported that an “offseason memo” had reminded teams around the league about improper use of videotaping equipment. What is almost universally left out is that the offseason in question was in 2006.

    NFL Videotaping Controversy Chronology

    September 6, 2006:
    NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson writes in a memo to all 32 NFL teams, that videotaping is prohibited during the game.

    November 12, 2006
    A New York Jets cameraman is caught taping by the Patriots in Gillette Stadium. When the story comes to light almost a year later, Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum tells the New York Daily News the story is “completely false.” In December 2007, Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini characterizes the story as true. Mangini calls permission for such taping a “common courtesy” which NFL clubs extend to one another – despite the fact that the Jets’ employee was apprehended by Patriots’ staff and told to leave. No documents have come to light specifying that “otherwise illegal taping with permission” enjoys any special category of immunity from league action.

    December 10, 2006:
    The Miami Dolphins defeat the New England Patriots, using an enhanced-audio videotape Dolphins Coach Nick Saban says he got from television, and Dolphins players say he purchased:

    "Reaction around the league office was, 'That's football,' " AFC spokesman Steve Alic said.
    Neither coach nor players said the tapes were obtained from a structure “…enclosed on
    all sides with a roof overhead,” as mandated by the NFL’s operations manual, as regards the shooting of video for coaching purposes. The enhanced video does seem to fit the League’s description of the product of information-gathering equipment for coaching purposes:
    In the league's Constitution & Bylaws, it reads: "Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

    September 9, 2007:
    Members of the New York Jets security staff confiscate a camera from New England Patriots employee Matt Estrella, and “cameragate” begins.

    FRAMe maintains that this chronology matters. Sports pundits routinely and incorrectly infer “arrogance” from Bill Belichick’s actions, saying they flew in the face of “the offseason memo” – which was sent in the 2006 offseason. The implication in such stories is always that the Patriots saw a memo issued one month, and purposefully broke the rules reinforced by that memo the following month. Even stories that proffer no such opinions routinely refer to the “offseason memo” without reference to the year in which it was issued.

    This brief one-year chronology also offers a window into the realms of interpretation that have seemed to be available to some coaches, but not others, despite a complete lack of prior written authorization in support of their interpretive claims.

    NFL: Dolphins did no wrong vs. Patriots - NFL - ESPN NFL: Dolphins did no wrong vs. Patriots
    By Len Pasquarelli (Archive)
    Entry of a clown in Spygate making circus look like child's play - Football. Entry of a clown in Spygate making circus look like child's play. Mike Freeman, CBSSportsline. March 3, 2008.
    NFL's Goodell Proposes Crackdown on Cheating - NFL’s Goodell Proposes Crackdown on Cheating. Mark Maske. Washington Post Staff Writer March 7, 2008
    NFL: Dolphins did no wrong vs. Patriots - NFL - ESPN NFL: Dolphins did no wrong vs. Patriots
    By Len Pasquarelli (Archive) Updated: December 13, 2006, 12:42 PM ET
    He said, he said: Jets say they had go-ahead, Belichick says no - NFL - ESPN He said, he said: Jets say they had go-ahead, Belichick says no news services Updated: December 15, 2007, 4:01 PM ET
    Lee Grosscup - Spying in Pro Football - SPORT magazine - Spying In Pro Football. Lee Grosscup, August 1967, Sport.

    Ibid - Writers - MMQB (cont.) - Monday March 3, 2008 12:05PM Ten Things I Think I Think. Peter King. March 3, 2008. Sports Illustrated.

  3. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Section 3 FRAME

    ‘That’s Football’

    "Reaction around the league office was, 'That's football' "
    — AFC Spokesman Steve Alic, December 2006
    In response to stories of improper use of videotape by the Miami Dolphins

    The staggering penalty imposed on the Patriots created the perception that this was a rare and unusual occurrence, which called for a rare and unusual consequence. As we've all learned from folks like Jimmy Johnson, it wasn't.
    — CBS Sportsline’s Mike Freeman, March 2008

    Too often, competitive violations have gone unpunished because conclusive proof of the violation was lacking. I believe we should reconsider the standard of proof to be applied in such cases, and make it easier for a competitive violation to be established.
    — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, March 2008 memo to NFL competition committee, as reported in The Washington Post.

    Is the “Cameragate” story a one-time-only example of cheating by one hypercompetitive pro football coach? Or were the actions of Bill Belichick, on the part of the New England Patriots, part of a continuum of off-field gamesmanship, engaged in frequently by NFL head coaches?

    “Cameragate” coverage so often lacks context that one could easily conclude the former: that the coach of the Patriots, in flagrant violation of a clearly-worded league rule and a subsequent memo, simply banked on never getting caught, or arrogantly flaunted his own aberrant behavior, in the belief that he was above prosecution.

    In the FRAMe fact-sheet ‘ “Offseason Memo” Was in 2006, Not 2007,’ we demonstrate that at least two teams from the Patriots’ own division skirted the edges of the league memo between its 2006 release, and the Patriots’ 2007 infraction. One of those two teams was the New York Jets, the very organization that alerted the league to the Patriots videotaping practices. Tellingly, Commissioner Roger Goodell, in declining action against the Jets’ own 2006 actions, makes the point that the Patriots did not come forward with a complaint against the Jets.
    But gamesmanship – or cheating, if one prefers – in the NFL did not begin in 2007, with the “Cameragate” scandal, nor with the Dolphins’ and Jets’ own videotape mis-steps of 2006, nor with the League’s 2006 offseason memo, nor with the thus-far uncorroborated complaint that the Patriots taped the Rams’ walk-through prior to Super Bowl XXXVI.
    Spying in the NFL was a well-established art by the time one Lee Grosscup wrote an August 1967 Sport magazine article, “Spying in Pro Football.” Grosscup – himself a former quarterback (and spy) – writes:
    In addition to interrogating former players, other football espionage techniques include:
    Watching practices. . . (Usually requires binoculars, sometimes a love of tree climbing.)
    Stealing notebooks. . . (One AFL coach, whose autobiography will no doubt be called "The Collector," has allegedly collected a notebook from every other team in the. league.)
    Bugging. . . Particularly scouting phones, locker rooms, training rooms and meeting rooms. (Most effective, though plantee had best not be caught with his insurance lapsed.)
    Filming practices. . . Requires a super spy plus special equipment.
    Spy-messenger . . . On game days this spy is usually disguised as a writer or photographer who snoops on one team and relays information to his employer. (Need a guy who looks like a writer or photographer; that is, disheveled.)
    Among the incidents Grosscup disclosed, over 40 years ago, were these:
    • When Raiders owner Al Davis suspected spies were watching his practices, he ran 12-man formations to confuse the enemy;
    • Giants coach Al Sherman would often send a staff member to disperse crowds at the Lexington Avenue subway stop overlooking Yankee stadium, wary of spies among them;
    • Grosscup relates numerous incidents of what the CIA would call “HumInt” – or human intelligence. They range from casual in-game inquiries of opposing team doctors about injuries, to the Rams’ rumored two-and-a-half-hour debriefing of a recently released Falcons player, focusing on the Falcons’ game-plan against the Rams that week;
    • “Papa Bear” George Halas of Chicago went to court to try to stop George Allen from becoming the head coach of the Rams. Grosscup recounts one columnist’s judgment of his motivation: “Halas didn’t want to lose his ‘super spy.’”
    • The Rams themselves employed a detective, whose purpose was to conduct counterespionage against other teams’ spies;
    • When the Rams played the Bears at Wrigley Field, former linebacker Les Richter use to sweep the dressing rooms for bugs.
    • A scout for the Bears relates a story of a game at the LA Coliseum. He relates what he sees from the press box to the field: “they were trapping Ed Sprinkle real bad…” The trouble is, he is using the phones in the Coliseum press box. He hears tapping noises on the phone, and discontinues the call. “By the time I got to the field they had trapped Sprinkle five more times and scored on the damn play…. [but afterwards] They didn’t hurt us with the trap anymore because I showed Halas what they were doing….”
    • “The Chiefs are the Bears of the AFL,” Davis says. “Lamar Hunt has come out publicly and admitted it…. he’s admitted budgeting for espionage.”
    • Former Kansas City executive Don Klosterman says of the Chiefs: “Kansas City spies, we caught ‘em last year…. They had this guy who was supposedly a roving photographer, but he was really a spy… Every time one of our coaches would say something important to one of our players, this guy would… relay the information…. we’ve got pictures of it.”
    • Grosscup asks what happened, and Klosterman replies, “We registered a complaint….Kansas City got fined for it. That was their second offense with us. We caught ‘em during preseason taking pictures of our practices with a Polaroid.”
    • Many other incidents, involving many other teams, are documented. The Raiders’ Davis counsels, however, “You’ll never get them confirmed because everybody denies it… they all say ‘we just don’t do those things.’ But you can take it from me, they do.”
    Although the Grosscup article dates from 1967, surprisingly contemporary references to “modern” technology appear throughout, especially as regards filming and photographing of opposing teams. Disciplinary measures such as fines are also mentioned, and teams are referred to as being “caught” at spying. It isn’t that spying was once legal, and now is not; it is that spying has always been against the rules, yet has always been practiced, and, when brought forward, has historically been lightly punished.

    One virtually indispensable coda at the end of a segment or article on “Cameragate” seems to be “what the Patriots did was different.” The trouble is that none of the criteria hold up: that the Patriots snuck around and did off-field “white collar” stuff (this has been in the league for decades); that the Patriots were flouting a recently released memo; that the Patriots used this tricky modern technology. All of those things are duplicated in other such incidents over the same year that the Patriots did them.

    Even the behavior pundits like to call “flouting the Commissioner’s memo” is being repeated as we speak. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reports possession of a January 31, 2007 memo from the league, reminding teams that tampering will not be tolerated in the 2008 offseason. King quotes the memo as reading in part,
    "You are specifically reminded that any contact -- direct or indirect -- by one club with players under contract to another club, about potential future employment, is not permitted. Such contacts could potentially interfere with the employer-employee relationship of the second club. Further, any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club's player to the player's agent or representative, or to the news media, is a violation of the Anti-Tampering Policy.

    Yet how often did we turn on a sports network, or open a sports page this February, and read about a team saying or hinting they would make a run at one or another free agent? Now that there is a memo out, is this the sort of behavior that “now” rises to the level of Belichickian monstrosity?

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has admitted that a great number of unfair competitive practices are rampant in the league, and he appears bent on cleaning up those practices. His anti-tampering memo, as King mentions, is one signal of this. His more recent appeal for greater power to bring league penalties with a lower standard of proof, is another.

    Ask the tough question: What, exactly, is different and unprecedented about “Cameragate”? Would we care, were this not a team with three fairly recent super bowl wins, and a fourth, more recent, super bowl appearance?

    Were the team in question the Houston Texans, would there even be a story?

    Commissioner Goodell seems intent on ferreting out a league culture that’s survived at least since the 1960s, and he started in New England. Senator Arlen Specter seems to believe the story begins and ends in New England, and is attempting to bring the story into the halls of congress.

    But from the looks of the historic record, there is no reason to believe that the staff of any given team – even Specter’s beloved Eagles – will emerge unscathed.
    If Steve Alic’s 2006 quote, “That’s Football,” will no longer suffice as our collective reaction to gamesmanship among the coaching fraternity, it can no longer suffice for the whole league, not just one successful franchise. It appears that Commissioner Goodell is seeking to ensure exactly that.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  4. GrogansArmy

    GrogansArmy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Haters are gonna hate, and believers are gonna believe. Nothing you can say will make a believer hate or a hater believe. There will always be something unprovable to make a hater keep hating or a believer keep believing.
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

  6. Joker

    Joker Supporter Supporter

    this sticky is long overdue when you really think about it.

    this spygate mess is STILL like an open festering sore matter what the Patriots do, their efforts are always judged in the context of this trumped up farce.

    having this sticky ends the need to repost counters to the constant day in day out week by week month by month "spygate!" comments that underpin so many discussions with fans of other teams.
  7. Sciz

    Sciz Supporter Supporter

    Good stuff. I was aware that the Jets had been caught. I was not aware of the rest of that.
  8. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa Supporter Supporter

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  9. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa Supporter Supporter

    One great idea that came from the teeming dozens here, by the way, was a bit ambitious so we never did it: a "family tree" of coaches, almost like one of those Rolling Stone diagrams of which band influenced which other band.

    The idea was you had all these coaches on the record, or cited in articles, connected with spycraft. The Colts' Mudd is a perfect example. The league was and is seeded through and through with guys who do/did similar things to the Pats' transgressions.
  10. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Other teams? We need to start with our own fan base it seems :bricks:

    And I don't really put any stock into those comments from other fans though. It's just another way for them to scream their ignorance about a situation. Reminds me of the time I went to a sports bar to watch the weekend games, and some "fans" were screaming, "YOU'RE NEXT MARINO." Except it was like several years after Marino had retired. :rolleyes:

    But great sticky idea.
  11. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster Supporter

    Thanks for the post some info I wasn't aware of. Good job Shmessy!
  12. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Thanks, but it was Joker's idea - he found the stuff, recovered it, pasted it in the regular board last night and had requested it for stickyhood.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  13. fgssand

    fgssand Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Thank you so much for the STICKY and putting this in a place we can all direct the uninformed to go in order to educate themselves.

    I am tired of trying to right all the misconception - same as the correct call being made in the raider Snowbowl game.

    Good job!!
  14. NYCPatsFan

    NYCPatsFan In the Starting Line-Up

    No Jersey Selected

    AT LAST!!

    Thank you very much!!

    I hope it is ok to post the following links to other threads because in addition to providing links to published article/opinions on the subject, these threads containd discussions that offer more insight and different - and sometimes aggravating - viewpoints.

  15. wahwho

    wahwho Practice Squad Player

    I believe I still have the original HTML for this site somewhere if anybody wants it for anything. I'd have to look around a bit though as I think it's on old archive DVDs.
  16. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa Supporter Supporter

    tempting innit?
  17. Article Article In the Starting Line-Up

    SpyGate: The Most 'Overblown' Story of the Decade

    SpyGate: The Most 'Overblown' Story of the Decade
    By: Russ Goldman

    It's a new year and a new decade, and there's a word that finally needs to be buried, much in the same way head coach Bill Belichick buried the football back in 2001 following a loss to Miami....

  18. MassPats38

    MassPats38 Supporter Supporter

    #87 Jersey

    Re: SpyGate: The Most 'Overblown' Story of the Decade

    Good article, Russ, but unfortunately it boils down to haters gonna hate. The problem with Spygate is one of illogic, not logic so as long as fans envy the success of the Pats this candle will continue to burn. Every time the Pats sniff the playoffs, fans will say "there is no way this team can be THAT good" and suspect cheating. The Pats unquestionably violated a rule, but the NFL threw "competitive advantage" conclusions out there without explaining what that phrase really meant. Given the magnitude of the fine, fans were left to infer that the advantage was huge.

    The only way Spygate becomes a memory is the Patriots become the Patsies and no longer compete, meaning the team lacks relevance in championship discussions. At that point, fans will claim the NFL scrutiny took away the advantage and now the team is as it should have been then (validating the belief of fans that the Pats cheated to win, despite the fact this event may come years or decades later). Given the nature of the NFL game, those statements are pure garbage, but, short of the NFL producing all records with investigator commentary similar to your observations, the absence of a competitive team is the only way this story dies.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  19. Nordberg

    Nordberg Third String But Playing on Special Teams

  20. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

    I'm hoping that in several years I can look back on Spygate and realize that it was the reason why Belichick tore it all down, began building again, and stuck around another 10 years to coach the Patriots to 3 more Super Bowls.
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