As the media, the NFL and Congress commence the process of determining whether a video employee fired five years ago can prove the Patriots' video operation went far enough to potentially compromise the outcome of an NFL championship, a possibility exists that the federal government will launch an investigation into whether the Patriots took any action that violated the Economic Espionage Act.
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the Economic Espionage Act makes the theft of trade secrets a federal offense. Without getting into the nuts and bolts of the applicable legal mumbo-jumbo, 18 U.S.C. • 1832 makes it a criminal act to steal, take, carry away or obtain by fraud or deception what 18 U.S.C • 1839 defines as a "trade secret."
It's a broad definition, and, as a practical matter, the question of whether a pro football team's game plan constitutes a "trade secret" under this law is something that would be sorted out after a grand jury hands up indictments.
Belichick must have reneged on his deal with Satan.
I was wondering what I was going to obsess about until baseball, what with my basketball teams in the outhouse and the realization that we're boned come November no matter what happens outside of WI today.
(Aside: I told a couple of people yesterday that I was looking forward to Manning Bowl II: This Time It's Super, and lo. I am so good.)