You may have missed it since the news of the Cam Newton signing dropped around the same time, but the New England Patriots have been punished for videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals‘ sideline last season.
The penalties included a $1.1 million fine, Patriots TV crews being banned from shooting games during the 2020 season and the loss of a 2021 third-round draft pick.
While the fine and the ban of the TV crews are understandable, the loss of a draft pick is definitely harsh. After all, the Patriots are adamant their videotaping of the Bengals’ sideline was done by Kraft Sports Productions for their “Do Your Job” video series and that football operations was not involved.
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Nonetheless, the Patriots will have to proceed without that third-rounder in 2021, and Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes that’s the penalty that “stings” most for Bill Belichick and Co. He explained why on Early Edition.
“I believe the Patriots’ story. I just can’t believe that Bill or anybody in football ops would be involved in something like this, and the Patriots were forthcoming,” Breer said. “But I think one of the things that they tried to do was they tried to position this as a non-football violation, and that to me is why the draft pick penalty is actually relevant here.
“It’s not just the loss of the capital. If you get a draft pick taken away, that is basically holding football ops accountable and saying this was a competitive thing. And so I think that that is probably why this stings for the Patriots more than anything else. And again, I believe the Patriots’ story, but they have to be treated like a repeat offender in a case like this because of their history.”
Between the Spygate and Deflategate controversies, the Patriots clearly didn’t earn the benefit of the doubt from the NFL. It’s hard to believe the punishment would have been as harsh had those prior incidents not occurred.
But despite football ops not being involved in the videotaping incident, the football team was negatively impacted. Needless to say, we shouldn’t expect to see any shots of opposing teams’ sidelines in future “Do Your Job” episodes.
Albert Breer: Why loss of draft pick ‘stings’ most for Bill Belichick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston