New England Fined For Illegal Film Scandal

By Ben Hamill - June 30 2020
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New England Fined For Illegal Film Scandal

New England coach Bill Belichick has denied having at any point as much as laid eyes on the video footage that has now resulted in the Patriots having been fined US$1.1 million by the NFL, along with a third-round pick penalty in the 2021 draft. The filming of the footage occurred at last season’s December 8 game played in Cleveland between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. The Bengals would the very next week go on to host New England – and lose 34-13.

When word of the illegal taping first got round last season, New England blamed it on a three-person camera crew filming footage for a web series titled, “Do Your Job”. The crew had at the time filmed the field from the press box, which is an action deemed completely inappropriate. The team at the time alleged that the filming had taken place without any specific knowledge of the rules of the league. The production/camera crew had also upon having been confronted by league officials, turned over all of the captured footage.

As for why neither the league nor the Bengals were ever informed of the specific credentials of the filming three-man-band, New England alleged after the fact that the failure had been no more than an “unintended” oversight.

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Repeat Offenders

But a general distrust of the Patriots has been coming for quite some time. New England was in 2007 fined US$250,000 for having violated NFL rules prohibiting the use of video equipment for the purpose of stealing signals. Belichick was during that particular round fined $500,000 for having had an alleged personal hand in what would eventually become known as “Spygate”.

Then of course in 2015 followed “Deflategate”, a scandal that involved then New England quarterback Tom Brady having issued an order to deflate the footballs that were to be used in the 2015 AFC Championship game played opposite the Indianapolis Colts. Brady, who preferred the grip offered by softer balls, ended up having to sit out four games and look on as his team was made to cough up yet another US$1 million in fines and penalties.    

Nothing Learned

One would certainly expect New England to have learned its lesson by now. The team’s reaction however proves the opposite as its yet again been a case of denying all liability despite the presence of some pretty damning evidence. Not to mention a repeat offenders’ record.

In addition to the fine and the draft pick lost, New England’s production crew will not be permitted to shoot any games for the entire duration of the 2020 season.

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