MLB punishes the Astros for cheating scandal the way the NFL should have punished Patriots for  SpyGate scandal

Rick Laughland

A one-year suspension, $5M fine and loss of 2020 and 2021 first and second round draft picks. That's exactly what the Astros and their manager A.J. Finch and GM Jeff Luhnow received from MLB's commissioner's office. Rob Manfred got the thing right. 

Then the Houston Astros took things one step further and fired both their manager and general manager to send a message that they were clearing the slate and escaping once and for-all the cheating scandal that culminated in two World Series berths and one title the past three years. 

It was a stern discipline from MLB and the Astros doubled down by firing their architect of a championship winner squad and the skipper to boot. 

This was an example to the rest of the league that this type of behavior and skirting MLB's rules would not be tolerated. It's a message that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should have imposed back in 2007 when the New England Patriots were implicated and eventually found guilty of taping their opponents signals to gain an unfair advantage. 

So what did big bad Goodell do in that situation? 

The NFL commissioner fined Bill Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and docked the team its 2008 first round draft choice. While the fine levied against Belichick was the maximum allowable, many media members, fans and people in NFL circles felt the Patriots got off easy without facing any lengthy suspensions. 

Here we are twelve years later and the Patriots are still engaged in similar types of illegal tactics as they were caught earlier videotaping the Bengals sidelines from the press box. Clearly Goodell didn't go far enough in deterring New England from breaking the rules. 

So while Finch's and Luhnow's firings sent shockwaves throughout the MLB world, it's highly unlikely that a morally and ethical corrupt owner in Robert Kraft would have taken the same measure. While Manfred handed down an appropriate punishment and the Astros cleared their house, Goodell and Bob Kraft could have and should have done the same during New England's cheating scandal in 2007. 

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

Every time I hear of the Patriots being accused of cheating, I am reminded of when Abraham Lincoln was admonished by his advisors that General Ulysses S. Grant was a drunkard.

Lincoln replied, "Find out what he's drinking and send a case to all my other generals!"

just an opinion
just an opinion

I couldn't agree more. The NFL has lost too much credibility to keep me as a committed fan. Maybe they could win me back, but the NFL clearly has held teams like the Saints during Bountygate to a higher standard than the Patriots.

Not only does it appear as reasonable to assume that the Patriots never really stopped illegal videotaping, but the NFL clearly looked the other way when Kraft was arrested early this year.

Kudos to MLB for making a statement against cheating. I would love to see the NFL follow suit.