The National Football League has handed down its punishment to the New England Patriots for the team's television crew filming at the Bengals-Browns game in December, according to an ESPN report.
The Patriots will be fined $1.1 million, will lose a 2021 third-round draft pick, and the team's production crews will not be allowed to film games during the 2020 season, sources tell Mike Reiss. Senior club officials will also be required to receive training on league operation and game polices, according to the sources, and David Mondillo, who was suspended by the Pats at the time of the NFL investigation, is banned from NFL facilities until further notice.
The NFL launched its investigation into the Patriots back in December after the Bengals caught a New England staffer videotaping their sideline from Cincinnati's press box during a Week 14 game.
The Patriots issued a statement addressing the incident, saying at the time in a statement posted on Twitter and the team website that a three-person crew for a web series titled "Do Your Job'' "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box'' as part of a feature on the scouting department. The filming took place "without specific knowledge of league rules,'' the statement said.
Head coach Bill Belichick has maintained that his football staff had no connection whatsoever to the illegal videotaping.
It was expected that New England could face punishment in the form of a fine and/or loss of a mid-round draft pick.
In 2007, New England was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals in a scandal dubbed "Spygate.'' Belichick was also fined $500,000.
Spygate fueled a distrust of the Patriots that persisted when the team was accused of illegally deflating the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game. The punishment by the NFL in that case was also severe. Brady was suspended four games, and the team was fined $1 million and docked another first-round draft pick.