Walsh Takes Story to Goodell, Senate

Former Pats Video Assistant Receives Indemnity for Testimony in Spygate Case

ByABC News via via logo
February 11, 2009, 7:46 PM

May 13, 2008 -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and former New England Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh met for more than three hours on Tuesday to discuss what Walsh knew about the Patriots' videotaping practices in the Spygate controversy.

The discussion between Walsh and Goodell was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. ET in New York and ended shortly before 11 a.m. Walsh had a meeting scheduled in Washington later Tuesday with Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., on the same subject.

Goodell and Specter each planned to hold a news conference after meeting with Walsh. Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been critical of the NFL's handling of the investigation.

Before Goodell's expected news conference, the league played for the media the tapes Walsh provided. The clips were cut from shots of opposing coaches going through their signals in games against the Patriots.

Goodell arrived at 6:38 a.m. ET on Tuesday at the NFL's offices on Park Avenue in New York. He stopped briefly to speak with reporters, but did not address what he expected to hear from Walsh before entering the building.

Walsh, wearing a somber expression and accompanied by his attorney, Michael N. Levy, and two other men, arrived at 280 Park Ave. at 7:25 a.m. Levy declined comment to reporters on Walsh's behalf, noting that Walsh's agreement with the NFL requires him to talk to the league before he speaks with anyone else.

After the meeting, Levy said Walsh was flying to Washington for his meeting with Specter and would not take part in the NFL news conference.

"Mr. Walsh is pleased he has had the opportunity to assist the NFL," Levy said. "Out of respect for Sen. Specter, neither Mr. Walsh nor I will speak with the media prior to meeting with the Senator."

Walsh agreed to turn the tapes over to Goodell and the NFL last week. He suggested in January that he had information about the team's policy of taping the signals of opposing coaches.

Walsh, a Patriots employee from 1997-2003, reached an agreement with the NFL last week to turn over the tapes in exchange for being indemnified from all future legal action. He turned over eight tapes he had of the Patriots taping opposing coaches' signals from 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Stand firm, Roger

As much as many people would like to dismiss Spygate, several questions remain. It's Roger Goodell's job to seek answers to those questions when he meets with Matt Walsh on Tuesday, urges ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

The tapes Walsh turned over didn't include video of a St. Louis Rams walk-through prior to the 2002 Super Bowl. The Boston Herald had previously reported that such a tape existed.

"Walsh does not possess such a tape. Mr. Walsh has never claimed to have a tape of the walk-through. Mr. Walsh has never been the source of any of the media speculation about such a tape. Mr. Walsh was not the source for the Feb. 2 Boston Herald article," Levy told the New York Times earlier this month.

In September, the Patriots were fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick this year, while head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for illegally videotaping signals of the New York Jets in a 2007 game, which sparked the Spygate controversy.

Earlier, after Goodell issued an order, the Patriots turned over additional tapes from the 2006 and '07 seasons. Those tapes were destroyed. Specter has since criticized the NFL for destroying those tapes and for its handling of the investigation.

Members of Specter's staff looked at the tapes Walsh handed over on Friday at the office of the NFL legal counsel in Washington, a source told ESPN.com's Mike Fish. Specter was expected to look at the tapes on Monday to prepare for his meeting.

Upon receiving the tapes last week, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: "This is consistent with what the Patriots had admitted they had been doing, consistent with what we already knew."

"We're not going to comment," Stacey James, the Patriots' vice president for media relations, said last week. He added he expected the team will wait to issue a statement until after Walsh meets with Goodell.

ESPN.com NFL writer Pat Yasinskas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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