Specter's Spygate investigation comes under fire from Republican senator

Updated: May 17, 2008, 1:31 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, does not think a congressional investigation in the Patriots' Spygate controversy is worthy of their time.

"Pro football is a multi-million dollar sport with a lot of competitive people from team owners to players and I have every confidence they can regulate themselves in a manner like this," Graham told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. "I respect Senator Specter but I think I'm like most Americans who believe we can make better use of our time. We're getting asked about gas prices, wars and judges but nobody is asking us about football."

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. has been a vocal critic of the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell's investigation of the Patriots. Specter held out the possibility this week that his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee might start an inquiry into Spygate, although Graham's statements appear to contradict his colleague.

Graham said there is a glaring difference between Spygate and the Mitchell Report surrounding Major League Baseball and the steroids situation.

"Using banned substances [such as the steroid hearings] is one thing. That's a crime. Lying under oath is a crime. Whether or not someone is throwing a spitball ... .no, I don't see any of this as an event worth of congressional oversight or how it impacts interstate commerce," Graham told Mortensen.

Graham said the NFL should clean up its own problems.

"The NFL, which has a desire to protect and control its image, is the proper venue for this to be resolved," Graham said. "The last thing I would want is to have football affected by our involvement. It seems when Congress gets involved, we do more damage in the world than good right now. We're not doing a very good job is the areas we need to be concerned with. ... Why do for football what we've done with anything else?"

Graham hinted that a scenario could exist in the future for congressional involvement, but that scenario appears to be far off.

"The NFL has a lot of money and all sorts of private sector interests to protect the game. When you can prove to me those have failed completely, then call me," Graham said.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN.