Spygate refers to the scandal involving the New England Patriots videotaping opposing coaches in 2007. Bill Belichick ordered his film crew to videotape the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals from an unauthorized location on the field. It isn’t illegal to videotape opposing coaches; however, there are designated locations where the filming must take place. Because the Patriots were taping from an unauthorized location, Roger Goddell, the Commissioner of the NFL, viewed it as being in violation of league rules and not promoting fair play or honest competition. It seems a bit ridiculous that this is not an illegal practice, and the only reason they were held accountable for violating this rule is because of where the filming took place. That doesn’t seem fair. Goddell told U.S. Senator Arlen Specter that Belichick routinely filmed the opposing teams’ coaching staff and had do so since he started with the Patriots in 2000. Belichick was fined $500,000, the most a coach has been fined in the league’s history. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and were also stripped of their first-round selection in the 2008 draft, which would have been the 31st pick. The Patriots were required to turn over all videotapes and notes in relation to this issue; the material was subsequently destroyed. When it was later discovered that the Patriots had done the same type of filming of opposing coaches from 2000 to 2002, no further fines were brought against them.
Article Written by: Erin Irish