In what is being dubbed as “Spygate 2.0,” the New England Patriots have been caught in yet another snooping scandal. The latest controversy involves employees of the Patriots organization videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during their week 14 skirmish against the Cleveland Browns.
The Patriots claimed they were filming a feature for a show titled “Don’t Do Your Job,” and that their failure to notify the Bengals of their perceived voyeurism was because the team probably would have told them “no.”
“If we would have asked or notified the Bengals organization that we would be filming from their sideline, they probably would have told us no,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “We couldn’t risk that. We really wanted that footage.”
The NFL didn’t take the explanation well, issuing a swift verdict that included giving the team a slap on the wrist. “This will not go unnoticed,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, immediately following the incident. “And it will not be tolerated. We will be issuing one slap on the wrist to every single member of the Patriots organization.”
In what is being referred to as the “WristSlap ruling,” the NFL sent league officials to Foxborough. The punishment was carried out in the Patriots locker room, where every player and staff member on the team waited in a line to receive one slap on the wrist.
Sources say they could hear screams from the locker room. “Owie!” shrieked a voice from within the room. “Too hard, too hard!” another voice echoed.
“It was disturbing,” said NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews. “Despite the organization’s misconduct, the terror coming out of that locker room was unsettling, to say the least.”
The following day, during a press conference, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, “Due to the slaps on the wrist that the league has handed out, I think we’ve finally learned our lesson. We’ll be turning the videocameras off for awhile.”
Correction: It was cited in this article that players were issued one slap on the wrist. It was actually two slaps.