Leaked video of a New England Patriots film crew taping the sidelines during a Cincinnati Bengals game was released Sunday, and many believe it was worse than the team originally let on.
Reports early this week indicated that a member of the Bengals’ security team stopped a film crew working for the New England Patriots organization from filming the sidelines of the Bengals during last Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots admitted to the infraction in a statement posted on Twitter and the team’s website. The statement claimed that the three-person video crew was working for the team’s web series titled “Do Your Job” and violated league rules in filming the field from the press box. The team claimed that the segment was highlighting the advance scouting team, which travels to future opponents to gather information.
But video released on Sunday by Fox News appeared to show a more damaging picture. The video itself was taken by the Bengals’ security member, showing that the Patriots’ film crew was taping the Bengals’ sidelines and the team’s substitution packages.
The security member pointed out in the video that what was being filmed appeared to have little to do with advanced scouts, and the members of the Patriots crew offered to delete it on the spot.
The video appeared to many to be very damaging. TMZ noted that it was “reallllllly bad for the Pats.”
Many others agreed with the assessment.
The Patriots were caught cheating... again.— nick wright (@getnickwright) December 15, 2019
Don’t know how high up the organizational depth chart it goes, but they’ve been caught, dead to rights, cheating once again under Belichick’s watch.
This should be undeniable even for the most parochial of Patriot fans.
Don’t know how much more proof is necessary. The Patriots flouted their track record, and pretty brazenly so.— Chris Mack (@THEChrisMack) December 15, 2019
Time for the NFL to act.
Suspend Belichick for a year and dock them (2) 1st Round picks.
See if that teaches their videographers the rules.pic.twitter.com/qV7gF8JYw0
Not all believed the video reflected too badly on the Patriots. Bleacher Report columnist Mike Freeman wrote on Twitter that the video didn’t actually appear to capture any real wrongdoing on the part of the team.
“By the way: that video doesn’t show the Pats cheating. It shows absolutely nothing,” he wrote. “The only way you think that video shows cheating is if you’re determined to hate the Patriots. That’s it. That’s all.”
The Patriots could face some stiff penalties for the infraction. As The Washington Post reported, the NFL is still investigating the incident, and the Pats could face fines or lose draft picks. The team had already been hit with one of the harshest punishments in NFL history for a similar incident in 2007 when the team was caught taping the New York Jets’ sidelines.
The incident, which became known as Spygate, ended with coach Bill Belichick being fined $500,000 — the most allowed by the league and the highest fine on a coach in league history. The team was fined $250,000, and they were also docked a first-round draft pick.