Patriots***

Posted: September 14, 2007

IN THE RUN-UP to Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's home-run record, detractors wanted an asterisk placed next to Bonds' accomplishment -to show he cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs.

So will National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell order asterisks placed next to the name of the New England Patriots in league record books?

There is evidence that the Patriots, one of professional football's elite teams, broke league rules by videotaping the defensive signals of their opponents. Three Super Bowl wins notwithstanding, they cheated.

And like so many high-profile busts, Coach Bill Belichick apologized, but didn't admit to doing anything wrong.

There were cries for the heads of NFL players Michael Vick and Adam "Pacman" Jones, who were involved in off-the-field criminal behavior. The Patriots didn't break the law, but they broke league rules. Punishment should still be swift and meaningful.

Goodell has been a big proponent of integrity in the league. He should hammer the Patriots so the rest of the league - and its players -get the message.

Maybe asterisks aren't such a bad idea. *

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