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Belichick gets his, but it won't stop the next guy
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By Tim Dahlberg

So Bill Belichick got his, though it remains to be seen which hurts more, losing the $500,000 from his fat paycheck or the genius label that used to be attached to the inside of his hoodie.

It could have been worse. Belichick will now forever be known more as a great cheater than a great coach, but at least he's still got his job and, hopefully, a little something left in the bank. The only sure thing is that the genius tag is history. Because it doesn't take a genius to know that if you're going to steal another team's signals, you should do it from somewhere other than the sidelines.

Cheaters rarely prosper, and Belichick isn't the only one finding that out.

Almost lost in the uproar over the video madness was the almost concurrent revelation that the dominant team in Formula One got that way by stealing secret documents belonging to their top rival.

While F1 barely registers a blip on the American sporting scene, this was big news both across the pond and around the world. The McClaren team with the hot new rookie, Lewis Hamilton, was caught with a more than 700-page book detailing how everything from how tires are inflated to where the cigarette lighter is on rival Ferraris.

Like Belichick, the McClaren team lived to play another day. But it cost them a whopping $100 million fine, proving perhaps that crime really doesn't pay.

There was so much spying going on this week that even the Chinese got in on the action. Ordinarily that wouldn't be much of a problem, but what happened the other day in Wuhan has to make athletes and teams around the world a bit nervous less than a year before the grandest Olympics opens in Beijing.

As with Belichick, it involved a video camera. The difference was it didn't take place in front of 70,000 fans on a football field, but behind a two-way mirror in the meeting room of Denmark's women's World Cup team.

It seems the Chinese, or so the Danes suspect, were trying to videotape the team meeting in hopes of picking up some strategy for the game between China and Denmark the next day. They were caught a half hour before the meeting, though China went on to win 3-2 anyway.

You haven't been paying attention if you believe the sports world is not full of spies, cheats and thieves.

There's a cheater on top of the home run standings, and cheaters starring as linebackers. Teams will do just about anything to get an edge in NASCAR, and there's an NBA referee who was even cheating.

Hang around the PGA Tour long enough and you'll hear players whisper about who might be taking liberties with the rules. And 32 percent of recreational golfers said in a recent poll that they would cheat to win a match if they knew they wouldn't get caught.

If there's any solace here, none of this is new. Cheating has been going on in sports long before the days Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes to make sure any infielder who had thoughts of tagging him out would pay for it.

The Patriots' three Super Bowl wins will now always be suspect thanks to a coach who not only refuses to play by the rules but also refuses to acknowledge he did anything to break them.

Should they be considered in the same league as Rosie Ruiz, who was declared the women's winner of the Boston Marathon in 1980 before people began getting suspicious because no one had actually seen her on the course? Or Danny Almonte, who lied his way into the Little League World Series in 2001, throwing a perfect game before Little League officials discovered he was two years older than any of the other players?

Turns out 10 of the 12 players didn't, and the team was stripped of its gold medal.

Belichick is in good company, his name now linked to a storied group who like him wanted to win so bad they would do anything to do it.

He got his hand slapped, but tonight he'll be patrolling the sidelines as usual as the Patriots take on the Chargers. The only difference is the tag inside his hoodie that used to read genius will now read cheater.

When history judges him, that will be worse than any punishment Roger Goodall can dish out.