FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick said Monday the Patriots football operations staff has “100 percent zero involvement” in a filming incident involving a Kraft Sports Production crew at the Bengals-Browns game Sunday in Cleveland that the NFL is now investigating.
The Patriots asked for and received credentials and permission to shoot the piece from the host Browns, but neglected to notify the Bengals of their plans, the Patriots said in a statement Monday night.
The three-person crew was shooting footage of a Patriots scout for an upcoming episode of the team’s “Do Your Job” series, which focuses on the duties of New England’s support staff.
“The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,’’ the statement said. “There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.
“The production crew is independent of our football operation. While aware that one of the scouts was being profiled for a ‘Do Your Job’ episode, our football staff had no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features.
“We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.”
The incident came to light at the end of Bengals coach Zac Taylor’s Monday press conference when he was asked about the videographer’s presence in the press box.
“I’m aware there was an incident,’’ said Taylor. “But the league is investigating it, so I’ve got no comment.’’
Pressed about whether it was unusual to see a crew filming in the press box, Taylor said, “I don’t have anything to say about it.’’
When Taylor was asked to confirm if a crew was in the press box, he again said, “I’ve got no comment.’’
The Patriots play in Cincinnati Sunday at 1 p.m.
According to a Cincinnati Enquirer report, Bengals scouts noticed the crew filming and alerted team executives, who in turn notified NFL security.
Speaking during his weekly appearance on WEEI Monday, Belichick was emphatic that the football side was not involved in the project.
“Yeah, I heard about this and evidently this is our production people on the TV show that were there, and I have absolutely nothing to do, we have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they produce or direct or shoot,’’ the coach said. “I have never even seen any of their tapes or anything else. This is something that we 100 percent have zero involvement with. This is something you’d have to talk to the production people about and what they were doing, or whatever it was. We have never seen anything that they’ve shot, other than what has come down on TV.’’
The “Do Your Job” series, which can be seen on patriots.com, includes episodes on the equipment staff, the training staff, and the video department.
“As I understand it, they were videotaping him to show kind of what an advanced scout does or something like that,’’ Belichick said.
The coach said his scouting department is aware that filming an opponent is not allowed.
“A scout can’t film the opponents,’’ Belichick said. “Our video people are not even allowed to point the camera at our opponents during pregame warm-up or their side of the field or anything else to test out their equipment. They 100 percent know, all of our scouts, all of our video people and everything, absolutely know what that is. Again, I have nothing to do with the TV production shows. I have no idea what they do, what their projects are, or anything else.’’
The Patriots were fined and docked a 2008 first-round draft pick by the NFL for videotaping the Jets defensive coaches’ signals from an improper location during a September 2007 game at The Meadowlands.
Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/rhXdwVvnr8— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 10, 2019
Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.