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Harbaugh Calls Patriots’ Championships “Stained”.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh clarified comments he made on a local radio station Tuesday in which he said that Super Bowl championships won by the New England Patriots were “stained” and have “asterisks” because of the Spygate scandal in 2007.

Those comments were made on the 98 Rock morning show in response to a question about the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal and cheating in the NFL in general.

“In the end, everything is brought before the light of day, when it’s all said and done,” said Harbaugh in response to the question about the Saints. “What happens, even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It’s been stained.

“To me, it’s never worth it. You’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you’ve got to figure out ways to make the most of everything. We’ve got new work rules here as far as what we can do and what we can’t do with our players, and we’re going to make the most of it. What we’re finding is, ‘Man, maybe we can do some things even better than we did before,’ because these rules make us focus more on some things that we didn’t focus on before. You just have to make them work for you. That’s what success is in the world. You have to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited. It’s not worth it.”

As you can imagine the national media ran with this story and within almost minutes after the interview was over the headlines of Harbaugh “calling out” the Patriots and Saints were up for all to comment upon.

By 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon Harbaugh already had issued a statement to clarify his position.

“I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain. My reference was to the perception out there that came as a result of the league’s actions,” Harbaugh said .

“I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. [Patriots coach Bill Belichick] and [Saints coach Sean Payton] both know that.”

There has been some distortion about what I said. The original tweet indicated I pointed the finger at Bill Belichick and mentioned Bill’s name. I did not,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. I called him to remind him of my respect for him. I also reached out to Tedy Bruschi, who rightfully defended those Patriot players and coaches on ESPN, to tell him that I agree with him that the Patriots earned every victory.”

I find this situation very interesting as this isn’t the first time that comments from interviews, namely Ravens interviews have been taken out of context to provide a sensationalist headline. What makes this even more intriguing is that it comes from John Harbaugh, a man who has been famous over the years for spinning interview answers like a politician. Usually using many words to say very little. This time his word choices had him needing to issue statement less than 24 hours later.

Weather or not he wanted to say this publicly I feel he has a point. Any time a team is found guilty of some impropriety it casts doubt on their accomplishments. That doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve them. They went out and beat the teams in front of them to win the championship but because of the circumstances people will always wonder if more wrongdoing didn’t occur.

To me, the focus should remain on those groups that knowingly break rules and not those that call them out for it.

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