FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (CBSNewYork/AP) — There is always something when it comes to the New England Patriots.
With “Deflategate” out of the way for the time being, “Spygate’‘ has resurfaced following a published report of new allegations regarding secret videotaping nearly eight years ago.
The ESPN report, which includes many interviews with anonymous sources, includes allegations that league owners were upset at the way the Patriots were punished for admitting videotaping other teams’ hand signals.
New England said in a statement that it had “never filmed or recorded another team’s practice or walkthrough.” It also criticized the reporting on “Spygate” over the years.
“It is disappointing that some choose to believe in myths, conjecture and rumors rather than giving credit for the team’s successes to Coach (Bill) Belichick, his staff and the players for their hard work, attention to detail, methodical weekly preparation, diligence and overall performance,” the statement read.
The Super Bowl champions open the season Thursday night at home against the Steelers.
“Things are going to be written, things are going to be said, but it’s up to us as a team to ignore the noise and just focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers,” wide receiver Matthew Slater said Tuesday. “Simple as that.”
Included in the ESPN report are details on the scope of the videotaping — saying New England coach Bill Belichick admitted taping signals at more than 40 games. One unnamed owner told ESPN the punishment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted on for the deflated footballs scandal was really a “makeup call.”
The article also alleges Goodell ordered videotapes and notes to be destroyed and that some teams believed the Patriots were also stealing lists of scripted plays from the visiting locker room and rummaging through hotels in search of playbooks or scouting reports.
Among the penalties Goodell tried to impose was a four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady, which was tossed out by a judge, pending an appeal by the NFL.
Goodell denied on on ESPN Radio Tuesday that there was any connection between “Sypgate” and the punishment the league handed down in “Deflategate.”
“It’s not going to help you win the football game, so everything that’s said outside this building you can’t pay attention,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich said.
Added wide receiver Danny Amendola: “I’m just focused on the Steelers and getting ready to play the game. We had a good practice today. Everybody feels good, everybody’s running around. We’re excited to get it started.”
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