Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Open Letter to Senator Arlen Specter

Senator Specter,

I feel moved to direct this public essay towards you as a means to communicate, in plain public view, with what low regard it is in that I view your recent antics regarding the National Football League and the New England Patriots. Before proceeding further, and in the interest of full disclosure, I must make it known that I consider myself a Patriots fan, much as you consider yourself to be a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. As we are brethren in this loose fraternity of fandom, I would like to assume that I may skip the details that define the fandom of a modern, educated, and civilized man and proceed directly to my main point of contention; however your recent actions lead me to believe that such an assumption may not be entirely safe. Make no mistake, Mr. Senator, I do not question your impressive academic and professional credentials, nor do I imply that you are uncivilized, but rather, I doubt the context within which you view your relative place within the dynamic of sports fanaticism.

The so-called "Spygate" incident, as you know, is a sports scandal of historical proportions. Few events of the like can be drawn upon for reference, whether from a perspective of perpetration or punishment. A highly regarded, highly successful and highly profitable organization has been caught breaking the rules of the league within which it operates. The organization has been investigated, publicly and privately, and punished, publicly and privately. The infractions in question have been viewed by some within the league as simply gamesmanship, while others have been more harsh with their judgements. You sir, seem to be the harshest voice of all. For your voice is that of a United States Senator making no effort to conceal the fact that his voice is carrying the full weight and authority of his office. To this, sir, I must object.

Allow me once more to insert a side note, again in the interest of full disclosure. Senator Specter, when I set out to write this essay, I had intended to include within it an indictment on your past actions regarding matters that many of your Pennsylvanian constituents, and many Americans, would consider to carry far more gravity. I intended to use allegorical references to the Iraq War, in an effort to illustrate your misguided ferocity in the search for truth. I was operating under an assumption that an examination of your public record would present me with ample ammunition with which to fire holes in your credibility on matters of truth, ethics and jurisdiction. What I found instead was an impressive collection of accomplishments, a body of work molded in a fashion consistent with the values and dedication required to distinguish oneself from such esteemed company. Yet, the more and more I found myself tempering my unfounded criticisms, more and more was my disappointment growing. For now, Mr. Senator, I am truly at a loss when trying to rationalize your activities.

Your decision to interject yourself and your office into the matters of a professional sports league, matters containing no legal or Constitutional significance, is flatly outrageous. As I write this letter, you and your staff are presumably preparing for your upcoming meeting with former Patriots employee Matt Walsh, who has recently turned in video evidence to Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League. By all accounts, this evidence will shed no new light on the matter, and many close to the situation feel the tapes, and Goodell’s own meeting with Walsh, will serve to put the matter to an end. Why then, Mr. Senator, do you feel it appropriate to interject? Why must you criticize the League for its handling of the situation? Why the meeting with Walsh, the meeting with Goodell? A man such as yourself, so critical of our Presidents forays into domestic surveillance and wiretapping, surely know the bounds of jurisdiction. Then why have you such blatant disregard for your own?

Allow me to close by returning to the issue of my fandom. The actions of the New England Patriots over the last several years have brought delightful highs, and agonizing lows. The recent revelations about their videotaping abuses has cast a pall over their accomplishments, one that will never diminish. As a fan the team, I wish it could be forgotten; as a fan of the sport, I know it cannot be. Senator Specter I urge you, out of respect for you and your office, to stand down and remove yourself from this issue. Your actions will stand for history to examine, and against the context of our tumultuous times, even such a talented litigator as yourself could not convince me that this is time well spent.

Sincerely and with Highest Regards,
Ian McCarty

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