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Commentary: Harbaugh right about stained titles

I have one problem with what Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on 98 Rock on Tuesday morning. He didn't stand behind it strongly enough, later "clarifying," which was really backtracking from his original comments.

After being asked about the Saints' bounty program by the station's morning show DJ/comedian, Harbaugh went on an uncharacteristic but appropriate tirade against cheating, honing in on what Bill Belichick and the Patriots did in secretly taping opposing coaches' signals in what became known as the Spygate scandal.

"No matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It's been stained," Harbaugh said about New England.

Absolutely true. Later he said he wasn't clear enough, that he meant the "perception" was that their titles had been stained.

Whatever. They cheated and they won. Repeatedly. Good for Harbaugh for saying something.

This is pretty rare, of course. Members of the NFL coaching fraternity, at least the ones not named Rex Ryan, would rather punt on third down than criticize a colleague.

What happens on Baltimore radio doesn't stay in Baltimore in 2012, so before the station could get back to playing Van Halen and AC/DC, Harbaugh's comments were being dissected and ripped across the country, particularly in New England, where they seem to have completely forgotten that Spygate actually happened.

This isn't something Harbaugh dreamed up. The NFL punished Belichick and the Pats and, given how hard Roger Goodell & Co. hit the New Orleans Saints for their bounty program, the light punishment probably didn't fit the crime. There's a much better chance that what the Patriots did affected games than what the Saints did.

It's about time someone with a little more juice than a blowhard columnist or TV analyst had some strong words for cheating. The majority of fans, it seems, could care less.

MLB fans loved their home runs and didn't care that the mammoth blasts during the record-setting seasons were more a product of science than skill.

College sports fans loved their annual trips to bowl games or Final Fours and didn't care how many tattoos or SUVs it took to get the future pro stars on campus, or whether their accomplishments would later be "vacated."

And NFL fans loved their Super Bowl runs and didn't care that spying or putting up big financial incentives to hurt players helped their teams get there.

So good for Harbaugh for saying what more people in positions like his should've been saying for years on Tuesday morning. Too bad the politics of the situation made him essentially recant a few hours later.

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