The Boston Herald has apologized to the New England Patriots for its false “report” that the 2001 Patriots taped the Rams’ pre-Super Bowl walkthrough. Says the paper: “While the Boston Herald based its Feb. 2, 2008, report on sources that it believed to be credible, we now know that this report was false, and that no tape of the walkthrough ever existed. Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Heraldneither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.”
It’s one thing to rush forward with a story before having the facts. It’s another thing to do it to the home team. But it’s Sports Treason to log a false report, about the home team, two days before a Super Bowl that could have capped a perfect season. Belichick and the players would never admit it, but the report had to have caused distractions at the worst possible time.
While it’s nice that the Herald was at least contrite in its apologizes on the back end, it would’ve been preferable to show some of those fabled “journalistic ethics” on the front end. Maybe have some real information to base stories on. The New England Patriots are well within their rights to sue, but they and the NFL probably want this whole SpyGate controversy behind them already.
Whether the Boston Herald will recover in the court of public opinion in New England is another matter.