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#pounditFriday, August 7, 2020

Patriots stripped of third-round draft pick, fined $1.1 million for filming Bengals sideline

Robert Kraft

The NFL has found that the New England Patriots’ television crew acted inappropriately in filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline last December.

The league announced Sunday that the Patriots have been fined $1.1 million and stripped of a 2021 third-round draft pick after a videographer was caught taping the Bengals’ sideline a week before the two teams were set to play each other. In addition, New England’s in-house TV crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season.

David Mondillo, the videographer responsible, was fired by the Patriots and banned from NFL facilities indefinitely.

Notably absent from the punishments are coach Bill Belichick and the team’s football staff. That would seem to indicate that they were not implicated in any wrongdoing.

Mondillo was leading a video crew that was supposed to be profiling one of the team’s advance scouts for a team “Do Your Job” documentary. When caught by Bengals security, Mondillo could not explain why he was filming a specific part of Cincinnati’s sideline, and offered to delete the footage. Mondillo later claimed that he was trying to get the same vantage point the scout would have had through binoculars. The NFL clearly didn’t buy these explanations, nor did the league believe this was an innocent mistake.

The punishment is similar to what the league hands down for significant tampering violations, except with a more severe fine.

This won’t come as a shock to the Patriots, who reportedly expected to be punished. The real damage may come to their reputation, as many fans will likely see this as further evidence that the organization consistently cheats, even though it’s hard to see what advantage would have been gained by what the TV crew was up to.

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