The New England Patriots are back in the news again for illegally shooting video of an upcoming opponent.
Everyone remembers Spygate about 12 years ago. Right?
Well, the Pats are back at it as they had a production crew illegally tape the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline from the press box last week. In case you missed it, the Bengals are New England’s opponent this week.
Upon being caught, New England has released a statement admitting to the “mistake” while saying that the tape had nothing to do with this week’s game.
The team says it was filming a feature on an advance scout for its website. This may be absolutely true but I have to ask what the Bengals’ sideline has to do with an advance scout. The Pats also say the people who shot the video were “independent contractors.”
The NFL will have to punish the Patriots again. They know the rules and they broke them. It really does not matter that they speak of the football operation not using the taped material. Pleading ignorance after going through the Spygate incident will likely not fly.
Head coach Bill Belichick states that he did not even know about it. His denial is almost a mirror image to his denial in Spygate. Still, it is his team and an employee shot eight minutes of the Bengals calling and signaling in plays from the sideline.
I am not sure how harshly New England will be punished. Many thought they got off easy after Spygate. And do I even have to bring up Deflategate?
Maybe the Patriots are telling the truth. But it was unusual enough for somebody with the Bengals to notice the act and bring it to light.
The Patriots always have excuses and they do not come across as trustworthy.
I have some simple questions. Was the advance scout sitting with the video crew when this happened? If so, why didn’t he say something? Of all the people who should know this is against NFL rules, anybody involved in Patriots’ advance scouting is at the top of the list. If this was an innocent mistake, why didn’t anybody with the Patriots stop it? How come the Bengals had to do it?
This requires an investigation and the NFL has said it will be a quick one. The Bengals have the tape so the league will see what was taped.
Commissioner Roger Goodell botched Spygate by destroying the tapes, which made the league question his judgment and the Patriots.
So here we go again. I have to believe that this is not as egregious as Spygate. If it was any other team, it would likely go down as an innocent mistake. But it is the New England Patriots. And there was a rule broken.
We will soon see how Roger handles it.
Image: Patriots coach Bill Belichick