The New England Patriots are under fire yet again.
The Patriots are currently embroiled in another scandal which involves the illegal videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals‘ sideline during their Week 14 game versus the Cleveland Browns. Although New England is claiming that it was an accident and that it had nothing to do with Bill Belichick or the franchise itself, that’s not going to stop detractors from hammering down on the Patriots.
You can count Shannon Sharpe as one of those detractors. According to the Fox Sports personality and NFL legend, Belichick should be fired as New England’s head coach if there’s evidence of the longtime head coach being involved with the videotaping in some shape or form.
“This is a bad look, but let me tell you what should happen. If it is proven that they taped this, Coach Belichick has got to go,” Sharpe said, as seen in a since-deleted tweet posted by the “Undisputed” Twitter account. “(If he acknowledges involvement), and there’s no way to say he did not, he’s got to go. Mr. Kraft won’t fire him, but the NFL should remove him. This is a terrible look given that you’ve already lost draft picks, the team was fined 500 thousand and you did it again? You know you can’t tape the sideline or the coaches.”
Patriots’ History of Breaking NFL Rules
It’s no secret that Belichick and the Patriots have been involved in league scandals in the past, most notably Spygate in 2007 and Deflategate in 2014. As Sharpe references in his take, Belichick was fined $500,000 — the most in league history for a coach — while the Patriots were docked a first-round draft pick in 2008.
The veteran head coach denied any involvement in the videotaping, saying that he 100 percent had nothing to do with it.
“Yeah I heard about this. You know, evidently this is our production people on the TV show that were there. We have nothing to do with anything they produce,” Belichick said. “I’ve never even seen their tapes. This is something we had 100 percent nothing to do with.”
The NFL is still looking into the situation and it remains to be seen how the Patriots will be disciplined.
Regardless though, it’s still not a good look for a franchise that has been mired in controversy during the run of their dynasty.
Patriots Admit Breaking NFL Rules; Deny Cheating
Although New England is admitting that they broke NFL rules, they’re denying any sort of cheating following the videotaping incident involving the Bengals.
The Patriots play the Bengals in Week 15.
���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,” the team said. “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,” the team said. “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.”
We’ll keep you updated regarding any fines or punishment that the league hands down on the Patriots.