Does the NFL Need An Honor Council?

Cheaters-1024   Johnny Gross Staff Writer This past week, the NFL has erupted in controversy over the New England Patriot’s alleged cheating scandal. Reporters and spectators claim that the Patriot’s team, led by head coach Bill Belichick, intentionally deflated their own footballs, giving the Patriots a marked advantage over their opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. It is known that deflated footballs are easier to grip, which is thought to have contributed to the Patriots’ triumph over the Colts in the AFC championship game. While the score of the game, 45-7, suggests that the Patriots would have likely won even with normally inflated footballs, the football community is still enraged at Belichick’s potentially sneaky infraction. While some still argue that the Patriots did not intentionally deflate the footballs— based on the argument that footballs naturally deflate in cold weather—Belichick’s past seems to loudly affirm the allegations. In the 2007 NFL season, Belichick and the Patriots were accused of videotaping the defensive signals of the New York Jets so that they could beat them in their matchup. The Jets have been known as a strong defensive team in the past, which was the impetus for the Patriot’s indiscretion. Belichick was fined a steep 500,000 dollars, and the Patriot’s organization was fined 250,000 dollars. But have these punishments been enough to set Belichick straight? Since 2001, the Patriots have been to 6 Super Bowls—winning 4 of them — have come first in their division all but twice, and have not had a record below .500. Many believe that this is a testament to the talent of the Patriots football team and organization, and that is undoubtedly a factor. However, given the recent revelations of Belichick’s cheating scandals, we would be remiss to assume that their 4 Super Bowl championships were earned without bending some of the rules. The question is, how should the Patriots have been punished, so as to prevent further dishonesty? Cheating has long been considered a fundamental crime, yet it seems to still go on without serious repercussions. Here at Latin, the Honor Council has a systematic approach to any act of cheating. The Honor Council is an elected group of students whose mission is to make Latin a place of honor—of course—and integrity. After news of academic infractions such as plagiarism or copying answers during a test, the Honor Council holds a hearing of the student who cheated, with the aim of reaching a fair verdict that will ensure that the student’s academic dishonesty will not persist. Verdicts range from academic probation to suspension. So does the NFL need an Honor Council? I say yes. Instead of putting all of the pressure on Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, there should be a group of people dedicated to analyzing any acts of cheating, to ensure a fair and thoughtfully produced verdict. While Roger Goodell might disapprove of the idea, that is not the point. The point is that we need to internalize the values of a group such as the Honor Council, in order to prevent further cheating. In the end, it all comes down to the decision that we make ourselves to either play the game and risk losing, or deflate our footballs to make sure that we win; to honestly take the test that we didn’t prepare for, or to look over at our neighbor’s test and copy down all of the answers. It is a choice that we make within ourselves. And all of the bad press that Bill Belichik has gotten in response to his choice that he made shows that he sure made the wrong one.  ]]>