Cameras on the sideline
It was my contention, right from the start, that a) the Patriots weren't doing anything that was out of the ordinary for NFL teams in taping the Jets and b) the reaction and punishment were wildly out of proportion to the offense. Clearly, they broke the rules, and punishment was appropriate, but the punishment inflicted was, in my mind, excessive in the extreme.
And the evidence continues to support that position. Yesterday on WEEI Michael Holley spoke of, and today Newsday is printing, the story that the Jets were taping the Patriots illegally in Foxboro last year.
According to league sources familiar with the situation, the Jets were caught using a videotaping device during a game in Foxborough last season that resulted in the removal of a Jets employee. After Gillette Stadium officials saw him using the recorder early in the game, he was told to stop and leave the area. He had been filming from the mezzanine level between the scoreboard and a decorative lighthouse in an end zone. The camera was not confiscated by the Patriots or stadium security.
Why did the Patriots videotaping in week 1 become a huge story? Was it because they were doing something unbelievably corrupt that warranted the condemnation it received? No, it was because the Jets, rather than just removing the camera, chose to go the NFL with it, and the Commissioner, spurred on by the football media, over-reacted with that draconian punishment.