NFL Should Strip Patriots of First-Round Pick, Says Analyst

Bill Belichick Malcolm Butler


The New England Patriots could be in serious trouble for their reported involvement in videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals sidelines on Sunday in Cleveland.

New England has been in hot water for similar issues before, most notably their Spygate scandal in 2007 in which the Patriots were stripped of a first-round draft pick the following year. The Patriots were also involved in the Deflategate scandal in 2015, also resulting in the loss of a first-round pick.

Although New England’s football staff has claimed to have no involvement in the latest issue regarding the violation of league rules, some feel a harsh punishment should be levied due to the Patriots being repeat offenders.

The Washington Post reports that it is unlikely the NFL will clamp down a severe penalty for this situation, though there will likely be some fallout. But for CBS analyst Jason La Canfora, a slap on the wrist simply isn’t enough.

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The Harshest Possible Punishment

La Canfora wrote a column on Wednesday about possible punishments the Patriots could face. Although he called the penalty for Deflategate “steep,” La Canfora believes this latest breach of rules should be punished by something more severe than just a fine.

Here’s what he wrote in his column for CBS Sports:

The Patriots, at this point, have no choice but to “accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew,” because, well, the Patriots organization sent them there. This wasn’t a rogue mission, and if someone was working for them in Cleveland under even the most benign of assignments, and took it upon himself to go rogue and shoot the sideline anyway, well, guess what, that ultimately ends up falling on Kraft, too.

Either way, it’s a terrible look, and one this franchise simply must avoid at all costs. Otherwise the costs will be very real, indeed.

Perhaps there will be evidence that proves this was all just some rookie mistake. But those come with consequences, too. And no matter which low-level employee fixed that camera on the Bengals sideline – if that indeed is what happened – even if he or she was outsourced, the consequences for a repeat offender should be substantial. They should start with yet another sacrificed first-round pick.

Too Steep?

It’s a little ironic that an analyst who mentioned the penalty for Deflategate being steep mentions the stripping of a draft pick in the same breath. The Patriots have denied involvement, Robert Kraft issued a statement to the media, and Bill Belichick has dismissed the issue as a whole.

Having a first-round pick taken away for a mistake in judgment by an independent contractor — now that’s steep. The Patriots’ immediate denial of involvement is a departure from the usual dancing around the issue or “no comment” answers.

Saying the Patriots should lose multiple draft picks over an issue as minor as this is blowing things out of proportion. The NFL should be able to quickly have results of their investigation complete.

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