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#pounditSunday, November 27, 2022

ESPN conveniently edits Mike Reiss reaction piece to new Spygate report

Bill Belichick media

ESPN released a 10,000-word bombshell report earlier this week that drummed up a lot of old emotions about Spygate. There was some great work done by Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, but the story was not flawless.

And ESPN is not about to stand by and let one of its own employees point out more than a few of those flaws.

Mike Reiss, who covers the New England Patriots for ESPN.com, published a reaction piece on Wednesday highlighting seven takeaways from the Outside the Lines report. But as Pro Football Talk noted, the most recent version of Reiss’s story only contains five takeaways. That’s because ESPN cut two of them out.

“[T]he story was given a tighter edit after its initial posting,” an ESPN rep told PFT.

So what was removed? For starters, the ESPN higher-ups apparently didn’t appreciate Reiss insinuating that it would be very difficult to sneak into the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium to steal a play sheet.

“Security’s extremely tight throughout Gillette Stadium. Don’t think too many people, if any, are casually walking into the visitors’ locker room,” Reiss wrote in the original piece. “And let’s just say they are, who leaves play sheets around?”

You could counter that the security guards are in cahoots with the home team, so it would depend if the security was supplied by the Patriots or the visiting team. Still, the point seems to mesh with some of the stuff former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest said earlier this week.

The second takeaway that ESPN felt needed a “tighter edit” was Reiss’ assertion that people are looking to knock the Patriots down because they have been so successful.

“When you’re at the top, everyone likes to bring you down,” he wrote. “A longtime sportscaster with a deep history in Boston relayed this thought to me that resonated: ‘They used to say same the stuff about Red Auerbach.’”

No matter how much the Patriots did or didn’t cheat, anyone with a brain knows none of it would be as big of a deal if we were talking about the Cleveland Browns or Atlanta Falcons. Most of you probably have already forgotten what happened with the Falcons at their stadium last year.

ESPN has taken a lot of heat for its Deflategate coverage, mostly because of Chris Mortensen’s false report back in January. The decision to give the Reiss feature a “tighter edit” is, at best, lame and, at worst, further proof that the World Wide Leader has an agenda.

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