On December 8, 2019, the Cleveland Browns played a game of American football against the Cincinnati Bengals. One would assume you had better things to do, unless your fantasy score was riding on it. The final score was 19-27. Then, the following day, this happened:
An official for the Bengals, who were playing at Cleveland Sunday, saw a member of the video crew wearing a Patriots’ shirt and alerted the league, which confiscated the video, according to the source. NFL has video; Patriots say video is a press-box feature of the advance scout.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2019
After, let’s see, roughly 7 months of investigation and the NFL reportedly being frustrated that there wasn’t a link between the video crew and the football operations, the NFL has come to a conclusion, from the same gang that reported that Cam was coming to NE roughly 37 seconds earlier:
NFL has handed down these penalties to the Patriots for their television crew filming the Bengals-Browns game in December, sources tell @MikeReiss:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 29, 2020
$1.1 million in club fines.
Loss of 2021 third-round pick.
Patriots’ TV crews not allowed to shoot games during 2020 season.
News story: NFL hands down penalties to Patriots for television crew filming Bengals' sideline; team spokesman says team will not contest them; Bill Belichick not part of penalties. https://t.co/fM0f2Wj7Pq— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 29, 2020
The NFL has handed down penalties for the #Patriots folowing the investigation of the filming of the #Bengals’ sideline, as @MikeReiss noted: $1.1m fine, loss of third-round draft pick next year, team production crews can’t film games this upcoming season.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 29, 2020
$1.1 million in fines, a fine of a 2021 third-round draft pick, and Patriots’ TV crews not being allowed to film games in the 2020 season appears to be the penalty.
For reference purposes, here’s the statement put out by the New England Patriots on December 9th, 2019, once the news broke that this was, in fact, going to be a thing:
Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/rhXdwVvnr8— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 10, 2019
For the past year, the New England Patriots content team has produced a series of behind-the-scenes features on various departments within our organization. The seven previous “Do Your Job” episodes are archived on Patriots.com. On Sunday, December 8, the content team sent a 3-person video crew to the Bengals-Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium in order to capture one part of a longer feature on the Patriots scouting department, in this case a Patriots’ pro personnel scout while he was working in the press box.
While we sought and were granted credentialed access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew, our failure to notify the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight. 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. 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 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.
So, there’s that.