Dear Mr. (we'll just say SCR's):
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the recent destruction of the evidence related to spying by the New England Patriots. I appreciate your interest and opinions on this matter.
During a September 9, 2007 football game, the New England Patriots were found to have been videotaping signals of the New York Jets against league rules. As punishment, the NFL fined the Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick $500,000, as well as the New England Patriots organization $250,000, and took away the organization's first-round selection in the 2008 draft. After distributing the fines, the NFL destroyed the tapes, supposedly so they could not be leaked or used by anyone for a competitive advantage and because the league felt there was no use for them. I am concerned with the initial action of taping these signals against league rules as well as the way in which the NFL conducted its investigation and especially the league's decision to destroy the tapes.
In 1961, Congress enacted the Sports Broadcasting Act, which gave the NFL a special antitrust exemption. This exemption allows the NFL as a whole to negotiate broadcasting rights with television networks to show their games. This allows the teams to pool their games and receive enormous sums of money which has helped build the league into what it is today. Because Congress has given the NFL a special antitrust exemption, the league in turn has a responsibility to keep the integrity of the game intact. Just as steroid use disturbs the integrity of a baseball game, the illegal taping of another team's signals undermines the integrity of a football game.
While I agree there are more pressing matters facing the United States Senate, I also believe the NFL has a duty to maintain a certain level of integrity, especially taking into account their special antitrust exemption status. While I am not currently seeking a formal hearing, I have met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and have asked to speak with other officials on this matter.
Again, thank you for your concerns regarding this incident. It is important that I be kept informed of my constituents viewpoints at all times and on all matters. Should you have any further questions or observations, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 202-224-4254.