Happy 10th Anniversary to Liegate


Today is 10 years to the day of February 2, 2008. A date which will live in infamy. The date the Boston Herald and then-Patriots beat reporter John Tomase unleashed Liegate upon the world.

By way of a brief, Wikipedia-like thumnail history lesson, it was the Saturday before Super Bowl XLII. The Super Bowl That Shall Not Be Named. To that point, the Patriots had been tried for the crime of taping the Jets sidelines in Week 1, admitted guilt, paid a massive fine, were stripped of their first round draft pick and heading into the game 18-0. Spygate had by no means been forgotten. It came up every week. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Hell) was grandstanding about investigations in a desperate attempt to win votes from Steelers and Eagles fans who felt robbed in past seasons by the Pats. But the accusations didn’t go much further than that one game in early September.

Until 2/2/08. That’s when Tomase took the dying embers of Spygate and kicked over a 50-gallon drum of rocket fuel onto it. He claimed a source that was telling him the Patriots had secretly taped the Rams walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI. The story exploded in a massive, mushroom clouded fireball that hasn’t stopped burning a decade later, despite the Herald and Tomase’s own retraction three months later.

Ask anyone what Spygate is and there’s a 98% chance they’ll say “The Patriots were videotaping other teams’ practices.” When Deflategate was at its peak, ESPN listed “Taped opponents’ practices” in an onscreen list of Patriots wrongdoing. Hannah Storm mentioned it in an interview like it was fact. Practically every team they’ve ever beaten believes it. It’s what Hitler called The Big Lie. Say something often enough and loud enough and the public will accept it as true, not matter how crazy it is. Again, this is despite the reporter and his paper admitting it’s not true. That they published the report without seeing the tape because no such tape exists. And giving half-hearted apologies.

At least I think they were half-hearted. I can’t find them. The reason I haven’t included any excerpts here is they’ve all been scrubbed from the Internet. You know how you can buy framed newspapers from the day your kid was born? Well he or she better not be turning 10 today if you want a Herald cover. Believe me, I spent an hour looking. I mean, look at that badly pixelated graphic above. I got that from the Concord Monitor (h/t to them) who published a scathing piece this week by Dave Brown about how Tomase is now at WEEI accusing Tom Brady and other Patriots players of using PEDs:

Tomase sat there explaining to former professional football player Christian Fauria that “100 percent” of NFL players use performance enhancing drugs. Fauria cited extensive experiential knowledge to explain that this claim was inaccurate and not realistic. Tomase rejected Fauria’s experiential knowledge on the basis that these men play professional football and cited his own experience of having been in the Patriots locker room to conclude that five specific members of the team are on PEDs.

Tomase then acknowledged that he hasn’t been in the Patriots locker room for “eight years,” because he’s “not welcome” there.

Which is not the only unfounded lie about them cheating he’s told in the 120 months since he first told an unfounded lie about them cheating:


As a matter of fact, as a former WEEI employee and a regular listener, I can’t name one example of a time the Pats have been accused of doing something wrong that John Tomase didn’t swallow whole and regurgitate back up to the audience like a bird feeding her young. They should’ve known they had a murderer on the team. They deflated footballs. Brady destroyed his phone because he’s guilty. Brady sells snakeoil. Brady, Kraft and Belichick are responsible for every word Trump says. Kraft and Brady have a sketchy land deal going. And on and on. Which is an odd choice for a guy who became one of the most reviled men in New England thanks to repeating a complete falsehood with positively zero evidence to back it up.

I’ve been asked a million times why, when I was at WEEI, I played nice with John Tomase. Portnoy asked me that very thing on his podcast when I was still there. And the simple fact is, because I wasn’t allowed to mention Liegate. Not on the website, not on my show and certainly not to him the few times I was on air with him. The subject was declared off limits. By the people who were paying my bills. One time I made a joking reference to it and got a text from management within minutes asking me not to bring it up. I mean, I’ve heard Kirk and Callahan mention it to him, and he threw back in their faces the times they’ve been suspended for saying stupid things. Like somehow there’s an equivalency between having dumb shit come out of your mouth while you’re entertaining your audience and knowingly publishing a complete piece of fiction that destroys the reputation of an entire organization just to get a “scoop.”

I’ll add that I also played nice because I don’t think John Tomase is a bad guy. I didn’t mind working with him. Sure, he might irresponsibly spread lies that have helped to ruin everything my football team has ever accomplished and has contempt for the city of ignorant racists we work in. But I enjoyed his company.

What I do not forgive and no long deleted apology could ever excuse away is February 2, 2008. Neither do some very important people in Foxboro; I know that for a fact. Ten years ago I was a regular on Mike Felger’s old show who (no surprise) was defending him for making an honest mistake. I told him “OK, then. I’m going to post a blog where I say I have video of John Tomase doing it with a farm animal. Now I don’t. And no such tape exists. But I’ll say it anyway and post it the day before his wedding. Then I’ll apologize later.” The difference is I didn’t do that because even back then Barstool had more integrity than the established newspapers did. Ten years later and that is still the case.

P.S.  I’ll probably not be welcome back at WEEI.