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ESPN gives “tighter edit” to column criticizing ESPN’s Patriots opus

There’s nothing like the smell of ESPN-on-ESPN crime to help wind down a hectic day.

After ESPN published (and trumpeted) on Tuesday a 10,000-word article that fully explored the rabbit hole of Spygate, Mike Reiss of wrote a reaction piece with seven takeaways from the story.

At some point, two of the seven takeaways were taken away by ESPN.

In response to the ESPN report that Patriots employees entered the visiting team’s locker room and stole materials like play sheets, Reiss provided a blast of common sense that was missing from the story: “Security’s extremely tight throughout Gillette Stadium. Don’t think too many people, if any, are casually walking into the visitors’ locker room. And let’s just say they are, who leaves play sheets around?”

Included in the original version of the article, it’s now gone.

Also removed from the original version was this final observation from Reiss: “When you’re at the top, everyone likes to bring you down. A longtime sportscaster with a deep history in Boston relayed this thought to me that resonated: ‘They used to say same the stuff about Red Auerbach.’”

Here’s what ESPN had to say about the changes: "[T]he story was given a tighter edit after its initial posting.”

Surviving the “tighter edit” was criticism of the corresponding report regarding the notion that Patriots coach Bill Belichick magically knew that injured players from visiting teams hadn’t traveled to Boston. As noted here last night, Belichick knew that because the visiting teams have an obligation to share that information as soon as the player doesn’t get on the plane.

So arguable criticism of the Sports Illustrated article survived, and arguable criticism of the ESPN article didn’t.