Cheating: An update.

AP: Belichick gets $500k fine, Patriots lose $250k, and a first-round draft pick if they make the playoffs. I am curious.

To me, the main story isn’t the penalty. This penalty was harsh, but closer to the mean than the supposed extremes. One on end, some were calling for a multi-game suspension for Belichick and multiple draft picks in 2008 for the team (regardless of whether the Pats made the playoffs or not); on the other, a small fine for the team and/or its coach. A half-million is not a small fine, even to an NFL head coach; $250k is relatively affordable to an NFL franchise which, for purposes of comparison, spends closer to $100 million in players’ salaries each year. Losing a first-round draft pick is unprecedented, but hardly unexpected.

The real question is, how much will this change whatever culture of cheating exists in the league? If the Pats were lone renegades in this level of trickery – using the team’s cameras to steal signals off an opponent’s bench during a game – maybe not much will change around the league. But if the Pats weren’t the only team doing this, and some have suggested they aren’t, this could have widespread implications. Will any team be willing to pay so steep a price just to get some video on their opponent’s signals?

Probably not. Mission accomplished, Goodell.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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