John Tomase and the Super Bowl walkthrough tapegate (Update: Tomasegate!)

Beleaguered Boston Herald sports reporter John Tomase’s coverage of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference on what former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh had to say about the team’s videotaping habits includes the following passage:

[A]fter the press conference, NFL counsel Gregg Levy explained that Walsh had passed on observations from the walkthrough to former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll, who’s now with the Jets.

“Walsh was asked during the interview today whether after the walkthrough, anyone asked him about what he had seen,” Levy said. “He said ‘yes’. He saw Brian Daboll . . . and Daboll asked him what he saw. Walsh said two things — one, he had seen Marshall Faulk in a formation to receive a kickoff or a punt, and he had been asked about offensive formations, particularly about the use of the tight end. My understanding is that is not consistent with what we had learned prior to the interview, during the course of the investigation. At this point, it’s uncorroborated, but it’s something the league is going to look into.”

I wonder who Tomase’s infamous anonymous source is? It stands to reason to assume that it would be someone who Tomase would have found credible, someone who could have been in touch with both Walsh and the Patriots coaching staff in 2001. Who framed John Tomase? And why would that person have held such animus towards the Patriots?

Will the Herald move Tomase, or will the newspaper stand its ground and perhaps even out the source? For a variety of reasons, I think the newspaper will give Tomase a new assignment, even as it stands behind him. Way behind him , as the old joke goes.

5/14/2008 UPDATE: The Boston Herald has issued an apology “to its readers and to the New England Patriots’ owners, players, employees and fans for our error.”

Writes the Herald:

Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Herald neither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.

Forget tapegate. It is now officially Tomasegate. Or perhaps Tomasequiddick. He’s definitely done as the Herald‘s Patriots beat reporter.

UPDATE 2: Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr mentioned on his radio show on WRKO (AM 680) this afternoon that the apology has run up 100,000 page views, four times as many as his column today (another piece on the so-called Cheeseman).