Patriots videotaping incident: What we know about NFL’s investigation into film crew at Bengals-Browns game

first_imgThe Bengals are in possession of the original Patriots tape, and the NFL obtained a copy as part of a probe to determine whether New England violated league rules against videotaping opponents.While this would be news for any team, it is particularly notable that the investigation involves New England, which in 2007 was hit with substantial fines and the loss of a 2008 first-round draft pick as punishment for the Spygate scandal.Here are the known details of the incident, based on media reports and statements from Patriots, Bengals and NFL officials. This story will be updated with further developments.MORE: Every scandal of this Patriots dynastyWhy is the NFL investigating the Patriots?A person identified as a Patriots employee in the Cleveland press box was spotted filming a member of the team’s scouting department during the Browns-Bengals contest. When a Cincinnati official noticed a Patriots logo on the videographer’s shirt, they raised a concern to the NFL. The league then confiscated the footage for an investigation into the matter.On Sunday, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer released footage of the confrontation between the Patriots videographers and Bengals security.FOX SPORTS EXCLUSIVE: @JayGlazer reveals footage of Patriots filming Bengals. pic.twitter.com/C7U7mopaEm— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 15, 2019The Bengals official reportedly said the Patriots staffer had their camera pointed at the Cincinnati sideline for the entire first quarter.the Bengals employee flagged media relations. Bengals security then interviewed the Kraft videographer. This was also taped. The cameraman asked if they could just delete the footage and it all be forgotten per sources— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., who cited sources who have seen the footage, it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on recording the Bengals’ sideline. It’s a direct view of the sideline as coaches make signals for plays.”Per Mark Maske of The Washington Post, severe sanctions are not expected, and a resolution of the NFL’s investigation is possible soon. However, on Sunday, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported “the Patriots are facing steep penalties for their admitted illegal taping of the Bengals sideline last week, which is likely to include the loss of at least one draft pick and heavy fines. There is the possibility of a suspension for a member of upper management and/or ownership as well”Goodell on Wednesday indicated the probe would be thorough and did not offer a timetable.”I’ve actually been down here almost the entire time,” Goodell said. “I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it’s under review. We’re going to be thorough. We’ll take our time and make sure we look at everything that’s pertinent here, and then we’ll make a decision.”DECOURCY: Patriots facing a credibility problem in defense of videotapingWhat are the NFL’s rules regarding videotaping?Teams are not permitted to film other teams’ play signals on the sideline, something the Patriots were punished for in 2007. On Monday night, though, New England acknowledged in a statement that members of its content team, which had not informed the Bengals of their presence, “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box.””The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,” the Patriots said. “There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose.”What evidence does the NFL have of New England filming at a Bengals game?The NFL has a copy of the film, which the Patriots turned over after being confronted by officials. The league is presumably reviewing the footage this week as part of its ongoing investigation.The NFL has not yet released a statement corroborating the Patriots’ claim about the contents of the confiscated film.What have the Bengals said about the incident?Cincinnati avoided weighing in publicly Monday when asked about its perspective. Other than informing the league of the Patriots staffer’s actions, the team has not signaled whether it suspects nefarious actions on the part of the Patriots.“I’m aware that there was an incident but the league is investigating it,” coach Zac Taylor told reporters, “so I’ve got no comment.”The Bengals also released a statement declining comment.I reached out to the Bengals to get more information and a statement on the situation involving this alleged videotaping. Spokesperson says for right now they are aware of the situation, the league office is aware, and they have no further comment.— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the Bengals believe the Patriots were stealing signals.MORE: Everything we know so far about Patriots’ videotaping incidentHow have the Patriots explained the incident?New England called the filming incident a misunderstanding and explained its staffer was assigned to work on a feature for a team video series.The employee took video of a co-worker, not the Bengals, according to the Patriots. And the team tried to distance itself from the video crew, calling it a group of “independent contractors” while still accepting “full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.” The NFL is investigating a Patriots staffer who was seen filming from the press box during Sunday’s Browns-Bengals, an incident New England said was the result of an “unintended oversight.”The Patriots, who are preparing to play Cincinnati on Dec. 15, claim they were shooting background footage for a video about the day-to-day work of their advanced scouting department for an installment of a “Do Your Job” documentary feature — not recording Bengals play-calling signals. The team said it informed the Browns of the plan beforehand, but neither the Bengals nor the NFL were made aware of the three-person crew, all of whom were independent contractors, according to the Patriots. Patriots’ advance scout was not filming but being filmed, per a league source. He was being filmed for a feature the team produced called, “Do Your Job.” The video crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video in the press box and their PR person was aware, per the source— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2019Just spoke to New England about the situation. Apparently this was a very BIG misunderstanding and lack of communication with the Bengals.— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019During a radio interview last Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he and his coaching staff “100 percent have zero involvement with” the team’s video production staff, which functions in a department separate from football operations.Bill Belichick on @OMFonWEEI addresses report of Patriots video at Bengals Browns game. pic.twitter.com/iQLSXoqEkn— WEEI (@WEEI) December 9, 2019Last week, the team released the following statement, including the below excerpt outlining what it admitted was a violation of league policy:While we sought and were granted credentialed access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew, our failure to inform the Bengals and the League was an unintended oversight. In addition to filming the scout, the production crew — without specific knowledge of League rules — inappropriately filmed the field from the press box. The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road. There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/rhXdwVvnr8— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 10, 2019David Mondillo, the producer from Kraft Sports Entertainment who was on site with the videographer in Cleveland, has been suspended by the Patriots. He released a statement Sunday that explains his role in the incident.Here is a statement from David Mondillo, the producer from Kraft Sports Entertainment who has since been suspended:”I had no intention to provide footage to football operations, I did not provide any footage, and I was never asked to do so.” pic.twitter.com/aLtxlQ06c2— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 15, 2019last_img

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