The NFL issued a statement on the “Belly-Cam” incident.Â Basically they told us what we already knew, that Bill Belichick is a cheater.Â They fined him $500,000 and the Patriots could lose a 1st round pick in next years draft.
NFL News Release
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been fined the maximum amount under the NFL Constitution and By-Laws of $500,000 for violating league policy last Sunday on the use of equipment to videotape an opposing teamâ€™s offensive or defensive signals, the NFL announced today.
In addition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also notified the Patriots that they would forfeit their own first-round draft choice in 2008 if they reach the playoffs, or their own second-round and third-round picks if they do not qualify for the playoffs, and that the club would be fined $250,000.
â€œThis episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,â€? Commissioner Goodell wrote in a letter to the Patriots.
NFL policy states that â€œno video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coachesâ€™ booth, on the field or in the locker room during the gameâ€? and that all video shooting locations for club coaching purposes â€œmust be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead.â€?
In a memo to NFL head coaches and general managers on Sept. 6, 2006, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said:
â€œVideotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponentâ€™s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coachesâ€™ booth, in the locker room or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.â€?
In his review of the facts, Commissioner Goodell determined that the Patriotsâ€™ use last Sunday of the video camera, which was seized before the end of the first quarter, had no impact on the outcome of the Patriots-New York Jets game.
Commissioner Goodell also believes that Patriots ownership was unaware of Coach Belichickâ€™s action, but determined that penalties should be imposed on the club because â€œCoach Belichick not only serves as the head coach but also has substantial control over all aspects of New Englandâ€™s football operations. His actions and decisions are properly attributed to the club.â€?
Commissioner Goodell informed the Patriots that the NFL would closely review and monitor the Patriotsâ€™ coaching video program, effective immediately.
â€œI specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick,â€? Commissioner Goodell wrote. â€œI have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension.â€?