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Sports

NFL Dishes Out Punishment to Patriots for Video Scandal

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The NFL has fined the New England Patriots $1.1 million for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a game last season.

The league also took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.

Also, the team’s production crew will not be allowed to shoot any games in the 2020 season.

ESPN first reported the news Sunday. NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the discipline to The Associated Press.

The filming occurred at the Bengals game at Cleveland on Dec. 8 of last season. The Bengals hosted the Patriots the following week and lost 34-13.

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When the taping became known last season, the team said at the time a three-person crew producing a web series titled “Do Your Job” “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box” as part of a feature on the scouting department.

The filming took place “without specific knowledge of league rules,” the statement said.

Also, the team’s statement last season said that while they were granted credentials for the crew from the Browns, “our failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight.”

When confronted, the team said the crew “immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.”

Do you think the Patriots' penalty should have been more severe?

At the time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said neither he nor his coaching staff had watched any of the video footage.

“I personally have never viewed any video footage at all, anything that those production people have done, other than what’s shown on public television or something like that,” Belichick said in December.

Previously, New England was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick in 2007 for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals in a scandal dubbed “Spygate.” Belichick was also fined $500,000.

Spygate fueled a distrust of the Patriots that persisted when the team was accused of illegally deflating the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game.

The punishment by the NFL in that case was severe. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, and the team was fined $1 million and docked another first-round draft pick.

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Many observers thought the new penalties were light for a repeat offender.

“They are just not going to stop cheating until they take a few first round picks from them,” one person said.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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