But when it comes to the latest Patriots scandal stemming from an unintentional violation of league rules from filming the Cincinnati sideline, Wickersham is siding with the Patriots. The ESPN writer was present at the league meeting in Dallas on Tuesday when Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a brief exchange.
Kraft offered a brief response to media as he walked past the scrum of reporters with whom he declined to speak.
On Wednesday morning, Wickersham appeared on Boston radio station WEEI, clearing the air on the whole incident.
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Don’t Blame Bill Belichick
The main point Seth Wickersham touched on during his radio appearance concerned hesitation to refer to this as “Spygate 2.0” and over blaming Belichick for this whole ordeal.
My feeling is that I don’t agree with it being called Spygate 2.0 based on what we know and we don’t know everything yet, this seems more stupid than sinister […] I don’t know what kind of advantage there is to be gained from filming the sideline in the press box in front of everybody. That said, they did it right in front of the Bengals and the Bengals were clearly offended by this. The response around the league from what I can gather is not nearly at the fever pitch level as it was in 2007 and 2015.
I think this just happened. I think it’s a little important to see what the league turns up. Nobody around the league likes to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt on anything. I think that Bill Belichick’s word on this seems plausible to me, and taking him on his word on this doesn’t seem like an irrational act.
On several occasions, Belichick has denied involvement with the situation and the team statement released on Monday night following the allegations further confirmed that.
As further reports suggest, the contractor filming the Bengals’ sideline was an employee for the Kraft Sports Production company and fully cooperated with the league, even offering to delete the footage on the spot before the NFL confiscated it.
What Will the League Do?
There is already speculation as to the type of penalty that will be imposed by the NFL on the Patriots for this whole issue. Reports from The Washington Post on Tuesday indicated the punishment wasn’t likely to be a severe one.
With the investigation into this set to be a quick one, the Patriots will likely not face serious punishment. A fine may be imposed against a team but nothing compared to what the Patriots were slapped with during Spygate in 2007.
The results, also according to the Washington Post report, are set to be released by the end of this week.