New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady minimized the effects felt in the locker room by the latest scandal surrounding his team.
Even though the New England Patriots as an organization have once again found their ethics under question, according to their leader and longest-tenured player – Tom Brady – the actual players in the locker room couldn’t care less about all the outside noise and drama surrounding their team right now.
News broke in Week 14 of the regular season that the Patriots had sent a production crew to allegedly film a New England advance scout working at a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. While the crew was properly credentialed by the Browns, the Bengals became suspicious of the team’s actions when they noticed the cameraman had his device trained on the Cincinnati sideline during the entire first quarter.
When confronted, the crew – which claimed to be shooting footage for the official team website’s “Do Your Job” series – apologized for breaking league rules and shooting footage of the Bengals’ sideline, and offered to delete the video evidence. Cincinnati staffers confiscated the tapes and turned them over to the NFL, who have now opened an investigation into the matter.
The Patriots released a statement acknowledging that the production crew filmed the sideline illegally and violated league rules, but denied that the crew’s motives were anything sinister – despite the fact that the Bengals were the Patriots’ upcoming opponent. New England head coach Bill Belichick has vehemently denied he had any knowledge of the crew’s actions ahead of time or that he sanctioned them to record footage for his football operations.
Whatever the league ends up discovering and ultimately ruling on regarding the case, apparently this controversy – which has been dubbed “Spygate 2.0” for its eerie similarities to the 2007 scandal – has had little to no effect on the actual Patriots locker room.
Per Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp, New England quarterback Tom Brady joined WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” for his weekly interview the day after the Patriots defeated the Bengals 34-13. When asked whether he or any of his teammates found the scandal to be a distraction last week, Brady was blunt:
"“I don’t think any player gave it one second of thought. … You just move on, man. There’s a lot of distractions out there and if you lose focus on your job, that is really a waste of your time. There’s a lot of people out there—they can create distractions for us, but we just want to go out there and focus on what we can do and what our job is and try and go out there and play the best we possibly can.”"
Whatever the end result of this investigation and controversy ends up being, it’s encouraging to hear that New England Patriots players aren’t letting it affect them or their play on the football field.
If anything, the Patriots have displayed the ability in the past to find motivation from those who doubt them or accuse them of cheating. Perhaps they’ll be similarly galvanized at some point in the future, whether in the playoffs or to start off next season, if the team is penalized and takes a hit in the public’s estimation.