Porter sounds off, says Patriots 'cheated'
Updated: May 23, 2008, 5:38 PM ET
An angry Joey Porter thinks the Patriots cheated their way to championships and the NFL's destruction of Spygate tapes suggested the league had something to hide after conducting its investigation.
"They [the Patriots] cheated, there should be an asterisk. They cheated and they got caught," the All-Pro linebacker, who spent eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining Miami in free agency last season, said in an interview on "NFL Live."
"Why, if you have nothing to hide, would you destroy [the evidence]? That's how I've looked at it from the beginning. Why destroy something that doesn't have to be destroyed? Let everyone know what was on the tapes. Why would you destroy them so fast?"
The Spygate investigation began after the NFL confiscated tapes from a team employee who recorded the New York Jets' defensive signals in the 2007 season opener. Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000; the team was fined $250,000 and forced to forfeit its 2008 first-round draft choice.
Porter called Belichick's fine a "slap on the wrist didn't fit the crime."
Since former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh met earlier this month with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to detail the team's illegal taping of opponents' coaching signals, Belichick has attempted to minimize Spygate's impact.
They [the Patriots] cheated, there should be an asterisk. They cheated and they got caught.
"They went from zero to 60 overnight and [Belichick] went from a good coach to a great great coach and he got caught cheating," Porter said on "NFL Live."
At a news conference on May 13, Goodell said: "I didn't accept Bill Belichick's explanation for what happened and I still don't to this day."
On May 16, Belichick told the CBS Evening News: "I made a mistake. I was wrong. I was wrong."
After meeting with Walsh, Goodell said of a further investigation: "I don't know where else I would turn, but I reserve the right to review new information if it comes up."
Walsh sent eight tapes to the league that show the Patriots recording the play-calling signals of five opponents in six games between 2000 and 2002, one of which was the 2002 AFC Championship Game that Porter's Steelers lost to New England 24-17.
"If you're to tell me that happened, there's no way I can look at it and feel like I didn't get cheated," Porter said.
Porter also said that NFL players he knows share similar sentiments about the Patriots concerning Spygate.
"Anybody I know that lost to them in big games, they're very upset about it," Porter said.