The moralizing and pontificating began as soon as Football Night In America cameras captured New England coach Bill Belichick running and grabbing a member of the officiating crew's arm in the chaotic aftermath of Sunday's Patriots-Ravens game.
Media giddily tweeted: Get ready for a FedEx envelope, Billy.
Tony Dungy lectured from his bully pulpit.
Merits of a fine and, somewhat idiotically, a suspension have been debated.
And at some point this week, Belichick or a press release purporting to reflect his thinking will be trotted out to say how sorry he is, how wrong he was, that no matter how emotional he was he should never lay a hand on an official, that replacement refs are doing the best they can and that the league is right to vehemently defend them. It will be a lie, and Belichick should decline to be a party to it.
No apologies, no shucking for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, no more excuses for the travesty that has become replacement officials this season.