June 28 (UPI) — The NFL fined the New England Patriots $1.1 million and stripped them of a third-round pick in the 2021 draft as part of the franchise’s punishment for filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a Dec. 8 game, NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed Sunday.
In addition, the Patriots had their production crews barred from filming any games in the 2020 season, and senior club officials will be required to undergo training on league operation and game policies.
ESPN and NFL Media first reported the NFL’s penalty. According to ESPN, New England won’t contest the NFL’s discipline.
The league also indefinitely banned David Mondillo, who was suspended by the Patriots at the time of the NFL’s probe, from NFL facilities. Prior to the punishment, the Patriots fired Mondillo.
In December, the Patriots admitted that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline of a game between the Cleveland Browns and Bengals. The Browns credentialed the three-person film crew to shoot a video for a Patriots web series called “Do Your Job,” but the organization didn’t inform the NFL or the Bengals.
“The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,” the Patriots said in a statement at the time. “There was no intention of using footage for any other purpose.”
Head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots said the film crew — which included independent contractors — wasn’t part of the franchise’s football operation.
Belichick previously was fined $500,000 and the Patriots were fined $250,000 — in addition to losing a first-round draft pick — when the NFL found the team violated league rules by filming New York Jets coaches on the sideline during a game in 2007.