Reports citing sources with knowledge of the situation suggest that the league’s investigation into Spygate 2.0 has not been fruitful thus far.
If early reports are to be believed, the New England Patriots are ‘winning’ their case so far with regards to the Spygate 2.0 videotaping controversy.
The team and its leaders found themselves in hot water earlier this month when news broke that a Patriots production crew was discovered illegally filming the Bengals’ sideline during Cincinnati’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
The crew claimed they were on location recording footage of the work done by an advance scout for the team, and apologized when they were notified by members of the Bengals organization that they were violating league rules by training their cameras on the sideline of the field during the game.
Supposedly, the footage was all part of the team’s “Do Your Job” series, a behind-the-scenes web docuseries hosted on New England’s official team website. The members of the crew all were properly credentialed and had been given permission by the Browns to be on-site at the stadium and to record footage. The crew members were not disguised, as all had either Patriots or Boston Bruins attire on, and were supposedly independent contractors hired by the Patriots.
New England has denied any connection exists whatsoever between the team’s football operations and what this production crew was doing that day. And according to NBC Sports’ Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the league’s official investigation into whether that connection does in fact exist has already begun in earnest… and so far, they haven’t found anything to contradict the Patriots’ stance on the controversy.
As investigators have continued their interviews of members of the Patriots organization, there seems to be (at least so far) no ‘smoking gun’ or indisputable evidence that proves New England sent the production crew there to gather illegal intelligence on an upcoming opponent.
Here’s what Florio said specifically regarding the investigation’s efforts so far:
"League investigators also collected devices from certain individuals, for the purposes of attempting to establish a connection to the team’s football operations. As one source explained it, there’s a sense that investigators want to make that connection, and a perception that they are showing frustration when unable to tie the video crew to the football employees."
Obviously there’s a lot further to go in this investigation. The league has been investigating the Antonio Brown situation for months now with no clear timetable or estimated conclusion in sight, so it stands to reason that we won’t hear anything definitive from the NFL on the matter until well after the playoffs end.
But at the very least, it’s encouraging to think that the Patriots might be telling the truth when they claim there’s no connection between the illegal sideline videotaping and their football operations departments.