POSTED 8:11 a.m. EDT, April 25, 2007


Jarrett Bell of USA Today reports that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell intends to punish team officials who leak otherwise confidential information.

In a memo to all 32 teams, Goodell wrote that such leaks would be regarded as "conduct detrimental to the game," and violators would be subject to a penalty that has not yet been determined.

"I'm troubled by the breach of confidentiality," Goodell told Bell.
"Whenever you get into these situations leading up to the draft, you have a lot of misinformation put out there.
We've got to be very careful not to let information that is supposed to be confidential get distributed."

Bell also reports that Goodell has launched an investigation into a recent report that Calvin Johnson, Gaines Adams, and Amobi Okoye admitted to marijuana use during a combine interview.

Said Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith:
"It's very disturbing to a lot of us, for something to be set up like the combine that benefits all of us, then you have people who take it upon themselves to ruin it for everybody.

"Whoever [the leaker] is, I hope they find him."

Please, A.J.
If you can truthfully say that you have never shared confidential information of any kind with a reporter in order to curry favor with said reporter, then please continue to complain about this issue.
Otherwise, don't throw stones from the porch of your plate glass penthouse.
(We know that penthouses don't have porches, but we liked the sound of it.)

Absent a device to force reporters (and hacks like us) to disclose their sources, there's no way to prove the identity of the leaker -- assuming that the leaker didn't make the phone calls or send the e-mails from team-owned equipment that is subject to review by the club or by the league.
(Note to all of our sources -- it might be a good idea to use the personal cell phone and the AOL e-mail account.)

Of course, the league also could pull a Hewlett-Packard and request personal phone records of employees by pretending to be the employee.
But that might not be the best (i.e., most legal) way to conduct an investigation.

The reality is that people will always talk to the media about things that they shouldn't be talking about.
It happens in sports, it happens in government.
It happens in any industry to which the press is paying attention.

And while we respect the league's efforts to protect certain information, we suggest that the Commish be prepared to exercise a certain amount of restraint in this regard.
It's now clear that he has the ability to impose any and every potential penalty against league employees and players who have, in his assessment, engaged in detrimental conduct, but if it ever appears that the power is being abused, the power likely will be eroded.