The Patriots have been at the center of a controversy involving recording in-game video of another team. The organization acknowledged that a video crew taped the Bengals sideline during Cincinnati’s game at Cleveland on Dec. 8, but claimed its videographers were not aware of the NFL rule prohibiting that.
Here’s what’s gone down in the last week.
A three-person crew for Kraft Sports Production was shooting footage of a Patriots scout at the Bengals-Browns game for an upcoming episode of the team’s “Do Your Job’’ series, which focuses on the duties of New England’s support staff. The Patriots received credentials and permission to shoot the piece from the host Browns, but neglected to notify the Bengals of their plans, the Patriots said in a statement Dec. 9.
According to a Cincinnati Enquirer report, Bengals scouts noticed the crew filming and alerted team executives, who in turn notified NFL security. The NFL prohibits teams from filming opponents’ sidelines during games. The Patriots admitted their film crew violated NFL rules but claimed the crew was unaware of the rule.
What does the video show?
The video obtained by Fox host Jay Glazer shows a Patriots film crew recording from the press box, including the Bengals’ sideline and the Bengals taking the field. Bengals security officials confronted two film crew members in the press box and asked “How did you not know?’’ in regard to the NFL rule prohibiting filming sidelines. A Patriots crew member responds “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.’’
Later in the video, the Bengals security member says “yeah, I don’t see the advance scout in any of this video you’re shooting.’’
Who was involved?
Dave Mondillo, a longtime full-time employee of Kraft Sports and Entertainment, was the producer who oversaw the filming of the Bengals sideline in Cleveland. In a statement provided to the Globe, Mondillo reiterated his assignment had nothing to do with the scouting of the Bengals.
What have the Patriots said about it?
“The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,’’ the Patriots said in a statement. “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. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.
“The production crew is independent of our football operation. While aware that one of the scouts was being profiled for a ‘Do Your Job’ episode, our football staff had no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features.
“We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.’’
“I have no involvement in this and no knowledge of it, and so I really don’t have any idea what exactly is going on,’’ Belichick said. “I can tell you that we’ve never — as a coaching staff and me personally — have never viewed any video footage at all of anything that those production people have done, other than what’s shown on public television or something like that.’’
Why is this an issue?
In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000, and the team was fined $250,000 and docked a first-round draft pick, when the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the New York Jets sideline in Week 1.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson had sent a memo in September 2006 reminding teams that “videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.’’
Belichick believed that since he was not using the information collected for an in-game advantage, it was legal. In a statement released following the NFL’s discipline, Belichick indicated that his “interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.’’
What could the punishment be?
The Patriots suspended Mondillo last week, a league source confirmed to the Globe Sunday. The league investigation into the matter is still pending, but the Patriots could reportedly receive a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the loss of a low-level draft pick once it culminates.