The New England Patriots signing Cam Newton was the biggest team-related news on Sunday, but things weren’t all rosy. Also on Sunday, the NFL handed out pretty stiff punishment to the Patriots for illegally filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline.
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According to multiple reports, New England will lose its third-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, and it will also be fined $1.1 million in addition to being banned from sending film units to record any contest during the upcoming season.
The infraction took place when a production crew associated with the Patriots taped a the Cincinnati Bengals sideline back in December 2019. NFL security took notice and the unit was removed. Despite his potential involvement, Patriots coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick escaped penalty.
In his defense, Belichick has denied the team was involved in the crew’s presence, which according to the long-time coach, were hired to film an episode of the Patriots’ online series. The episode in question was supposedly designed to cover advanced scouting, but things obviously went too far for the NFL’s liking.
Despite an explanation provided by the team, the NFL still saw fit to issue a punishment for what was ruled to be a violation of league rules. The tape reportedly lasted just eight minutes, but in this situation, eight was surely enough.
David Mondillo, one of the primary individuals mentioned in the situation, was fired by the Patriots and subsequently banned by the NFL. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the Patriots’ first time running into issues with the league’s rules and regulation. There is the infamous Spygate and Deflategate that have stained the organization’s reputation for fair play over the years.
When weighing the punishments, it would appear the loss of the third-round pick is most significant. NFL teams hate to lose draft picks and third-rounders can be particularly valuable. The Patriots are restructuring their player personnel after Tom Brady’s exit, and draft picks are essential for the team to establish its new identity.
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