Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Wade Wilson Questions Pats’ Punishment

Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach, serving a suspension for taking Human Growth Hormone to treat diabetes, sees a double standard in the League’s punishment of the New England Patriots for blatant on-the-field cheating.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday in Fort Worth that the punishment assessed Patriots coach Bill Belichick for breaking videotaping rules “sure gets your attention, and it really was a tough penalty.”


Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000. If the team makes the playoffs, the Patriots will lose a first-round draft pick in 2008; if they don’t make the playoffs, they will lose their second- and third-round picks. Jerry Jones said that he knows “probably the most punitive thing you can do with Belichick is take draft picks away from him.”

There has been an outcry that Belichick should have been suspended.

Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson was suspended five games and fined $100,000 after admitting he purchased a drug banned by the NFL as a performance-enhancing substance. He said he used the substance to combat complications from diabetes and improve his quality of life. He was with the Chicago Bears (2004-2006) when the purchase was made. He was told he was suspended five games because coaches are held to a higher standard.

Jones said Wilson’s penalty was “harsh,” but “I don’t have the ability to compare” it to Belichick’s.

Wilson is unhappy with the differences in the discipline, especially when considering intent. “I would say there is definitely a double standard being applied here,” Wilson told “I don’t want to be seen as a crybaby or as someone questioning the commissioner’s decision, but I see some major inconsistencies here. To me, they’re holding the organization accountable instead of the person. I don’t want to bash the commissioner, but … intent was a big issue in my defense. What their [Patriots] intent was, I don’t know.”

It’s a fair point. Belichick was unquestionably cheating to gain an advantage on the field. By contrast, there’s no way Wilson’s taking HGH improves his ability to coach quarterbacks. A half million dollar fine isn’t exactly getting off easy, even for a multi-millionaire coach. But Wilson’s penalty was way too harsh.

FWST’s Randy Galloway is more harsh:

With supreme arrogance, Belichick had openly defied Goodell last week by continuing to do what the commissioner had said don’t do. No more video recorders could appear on the sidelines of NFL games because they were used to steal defensive signs of an opponent. Belichick was known to be the No. 1 practitioner of this illegal activity. And on Sunday in the Meadowlands, he went right ahead and did it again, did it against the Jets, coached by one of his former assistants, who knew Belichick always did it.


Belichick was given a $500,000 fine, the maximum allowed in the NFL, with the stipulation he had to pay it, not the team. Wanna bet on that? And besides, that half a mil would hardly dent this man’s wallet anyway. The Patriots were fined $250,000, or nothing owner Bob Kraft can’t handle out of petty cash.

Plus, the Pats were ordered to give up a first-round draft pick in April (if they made the playoffs this season) or a second- and third-rounder if they don’t. New England will make the playoffs and owns two first-round picks in the next draft. No harm done at all.


The fine was one-third of Wilson’s salary. The five-game suspension cut out an embarrassed Wilson’s heart, because it took him away from the game and job he loved. Twenty-six years in the NFL, 19 as a player, seven as a coach, and with a spotless record until this, Goodell said a humiliated Wilson had to be used as an example to others.

“Coaches,” he preached, “must be held to a higher standard.”

And when the opportunity came to hold big-time Bill Belichick to the same standard as small-time Wade Wilson, the commissioner patty-caked, and caved like a wimp. If Wilson is worth five games, then Belichick had to get 10. If, of course, coaches are really being held to a higher standard by The Man.

Mr. Goodell, you are a fraud.

May Michael Vick’s pit bulls bite you in the butt forever more.

Now, the Patriots made a trade this year to get the additional 1st next year, so the idea that losing it doesn’t hurt is silly. Teams build for the future with their first day draft picks and the Pats have been among the best at making them count.

The problem isn’t that Belichick’s punishment was too light but that Wilson’s was too harsh. By about five games and $100,000.

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