FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — After a tough loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots are once again “on to Cincinnati” — shifting their focus from Sunday night’s officiating to preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the team was met with controversy Monday after reports surfaced that the Patriots were actively spying on their next opponent.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Bengals, who were playing the Cleveland Browns Sunday, saw someone wearing a Patriots shirt filming the game and alerted the league.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that a Bengals employee saw someone filming in the press box and noticed that it was focused on the Bengals sideline for the first quarter of the game.
The NFL then confiscated that video, Schefter said. The Patriots claim the advance scout was not filming, but instead was being filmed for a feature the team is producing called “Do Your Job.”
In a statement released late Monday night, the Patriots confirmed that a three-man documentary crew working on that feature shot video of the sideline without knowing it was a violation of league rules. The statement also said that the Patriots did not notify the Bengals or the NFL about the taping – but had cleared it with the Browns.
When Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the situation on WEEI Radio, he said the incident “…is something we had 100% zero involvement with.”
The Patriots’ statement, released after that interview, stated that the men were independent contractors and had no connection to Patriots football operations.
The NFL is currently investigating the incident at this time.
At a news conference Monday, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor acknowledged it as well: “I’m aware that there was an incident, but I know that the league is investigating it, so I have no comment.”
The Patriots (10-3) will take on the Bengals (1-12) Sunday at 1 p.m. in Cincinnati.
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