The New England Patriots grabbed headlines in Week 15 even before kickoff. The reason? A member of the New England Patriots staff was caught filming the Patriots' Week 15 opponents Cincinnati Bengals during their game against the Cleveland Browns last week. The filming of the Bengals was in direct violation of NFL policy as the Patriots failed to inform the Bengals and the NFL of the recorded footage. While the New England Patriots did admit to violating NFL policy, they have now taken the decision to suspend the videographer who took footage of the Bengals.
Dave Mondillo is the man in question. Mondillo is a longtime full-time employee of Kraft Sports and Entertainment, headed by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. When the incident first came to light, the Patriots claimed that the staff was recording footage for a behind-the-scenes video series called “Do Your Job". The series features on the Patriots' official website and provides a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the New England Patriots staff.
The Bengals incident has mirrored the 'Spygate' incident that the Patriots were involved in, way back in 2007. Then, the Patriots were caught videotaping the New York Jets on the sidelines. A $500,000 fine was levied on Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the incident came to light. The Patriots were also fined $250,000 and were docked the team’s first-round pick in the 2008 draft.
It remains to be seen what punishment is meted out to the New England Patriots by the NFL this time around. There has been speculation that the Patriots could be handed a heavy fine. This fine could also accompany the loss of a low-level draft pick, once the NFL completes its investigation into what has now been termed as 'Spygate 2.0'.