Patriots coach apologizes for video flap
Vail, CO Colorado
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick apologized to his team on Wednesday and confirmed that he has spoken to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about his “interpretation” of league rules that ban videotaping of the opposing sideline.
It was not clear what Belichick was apologizing for, and the coach repeatedly refused to elaborate on a one-paragraph statement issued 10 minutes before a regularly scheduled news conference to discuss Sunday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
“At this point, we have not been notified of the league’s ruling,” Belichick said in a statement. “Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players. Following the league’s decision, I will have further comment.”
The statement said Belichick spoke with Goodell this week about a “videotaping procedure” during last Sunday’s game and “my interpretation of the rules.”
After about 15 minutes discussing Sunday’s game, Belichick was pressed harder on his “interpretation of the rules,” and the coach walked out of the room.
NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during New England’s 38-14 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. The employee was accused of aiming his camera at the Jets’ defensive coaches as they signaled to players on the field.
ESPN.com, citing league sources, reported Tuesday that Goodell has determined the Patriots violated league rules that ban videotaping of defensive signals. The report also said the Patriots have not yet presented their case to the league.
The Web site’s report said Goodell is considering severe sanctions, including docking the Patriots “multiple draft picks.” A league spokesman said only that an investigation is under way, and both teams said no decision has been made.
Asked repeatedly to elaborate on the statement and the effect it might have on his team, Belichick was left begging for football questions. But few in the media workroom had come to hear about San Diego.
“Any questions about the Chargers?” he pleaded in his standard other-things-to-do monotone. “Want to talk about the football game? If not, I think that statement pretty much covers it.”
It appeared that he might find no takers, before one reporter asked about defending against Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
The coach smiled.
“Whatever happens out there Sunday night, out there on the field, that’s where everybody will make their statement,” he said.
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