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Roger Goodell’s role in covering up Patriots’ cheating ways shows he’s unfit for office

Like most sportswriters, I remember well the “Spygate” scandal of 2007, the incident in which the New England Patriots were caught cheating with -illegal videotape of the New York Jets and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell subsequently hand-slapped the Pats and destroyed all the tapes and notes before anyone outside his office could see them.

It all seemed like so much b.s. It was fishy and stunk to high heaven.

But it was the NFL. What could anyone do?

Shut up and watch the games.

Now, in a lengthy, heavily documented story in ESPN the Magazine, senior writers Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham claim that the cover-up was as devious as it appeared. And the recent “Deflategate” fiasco involving Goodell, the Super Bowl-champion Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady was an attempt at payback for the Pats’ continued cheating through the years.

This section from the story, describing a private NFL owners meeting from 2007, pretty much tells it all:

“Goodell tried to assuage his bosses: He ordered the destruction of the tapes and notes, he insisted, so they couldn’t be exploited again. Many in the room didn’t believe it. And some would conclude it was as if Goodell, [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft and [coach Bill] Belichick had acted like partners, complicit in trying to sweep the scandal’s details under the rug while the rest of the league was left wondering how much glory the Patriots’ cheating had cost their teams.

“Goodell didn’t want anybody to know that his gold franchise had won Super Bowls by cheating,” a senior executive whose team lost to the Patriots in a Super Bowl said. “If that gets out, that hurts your business.”

And the business is all.

To find out that a multiple Super Bowl champion has been cheating almost with impunity for years and years isn’t much different from finding out games are rigged, points are shaved, rules are irrelevant and players are on the take.

What you have then is not sport, but acting. Integrity is gone. Winning means nothing. Viewers are fools.

Goodell took the low road back in the day, and it’s too late for him to get back into the sunshine. The league seems impervious to ethics attacks. So Sundays likely will be the same for NFL lovers.

For Goodell? It should be over.

Marshall blowing hot air about ‘Deflatgate’

Here’s a big reason it’s nice to see Brandon Marshall on a team other than the Bears. The guy will not — cannot — shut his pie hole.

On his mouthpiece show, Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” Marshall said that many players in the NFL believe race had something to do with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady having his “Deflategate” four-game suspension overturned by a court of law.

“There are a lot of players out there that believe that white players — specifically at the quarterback position — are treated differently,” Marshall said.

For the record, Marshall is black and, as the wideout noted, Brady is white. And, yes, a quarterback.

Marshall continued, “This is how guys are feeling. This is not just my opinion.”

OK, you never can blame anybody for having an opinion. And maybe Marshall has talked to enough guys in the league to have some sort of consensus on the opinions of other (I’m guessing black) players.

But opinions, like drones or armadillos, can be stupid or misguided. There is no doubt that race — as well as things like height, weight, speaking ability, gender, accent, attire, attitude, beauty, ugliness, wealth, poverty, connections, etc. — affects everything that ever occurs between humans in this world.

But race, as it applies to Brady (rich, famous, handsome, successful and, yes, white), actually might have played against the quarterback, at least in the beginning.

After all, a four-game suspension for possibly using a deflated football? Wow, back in the day, players didn’t get four-game suspensions for anything. Indeed, two months ago, Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got a 10-game suspension reduced to four by an arbitrator. Hardy allegedly beat up his girlfriend and threatened to kill her.

And Hardy is black.

Moreover, Brady getting his suspension overturned by a judge should have been something all players would support because the battle was player vs. commissioner, union vs. management.

It was also black supporting  white, if you will. Players union chief DeMaurice Smith is black.

But Marshall, as stated, has no filter on his mouth, and maybe on his brain, generally.

He created so much chaos with the Bears, especially last season when he started doing that silly TV show (silly for an active player, that is), that it didn’t matter how many catches he had. Winning is not his thing. Blabbing is.

Playing the race card always gets attention. And attention is the air this fellow breathes.

Government can’t ignore gambling dollars

Putting money in the stock market is betting on the ascent of shares of publicly held companies.

Taking prescribed pills is betting health benefits will be better than the side effects.

Taking a family camping trip is betting the journey will be fun and not turn into a frying-pan nightmare.

In a sense, everything we do is a gamble. It shouldn’t surprise us then that, according to an ESPN report, $95 billion will be bet — most of it illegally — on the NFL and college football this season.

The only state where you can make those bets legally is Nevada, but according to research, a legalized gambling market in the United States would be the biggest gaming market in the world and could generate
$12.4 billion annually. That, my friends, is as much as the NFL makes each year as an actual business.

The upshot here? Laws banning betting on football outside Nevada are as effective as screen doors in swimming pools. And that is too much money for the ever-greedy state and federal tax people to ignore much longer.

States love to promote their lotteries, which are nothing more than stupid gambling. Why state governments don’t just take the mostly poor citizens who play lotteries and turn them upside down and shake them until all of their pocket money falls out, I don’t know.

It’s an axiom in this country that any form of revenue will be discovered, tapped and siphoned. And the morality of gambling already has been laughed at by those state-sponsored lotteries.

So it can’t be long until lines form at our local football betting parlors and folks coming home from church scream and holler as their teams hit scores and point spreads and over/unders. Just good, clean, American fun.

Football — it’s all about the game, remember?

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: ricktelander@suntimes.com