New England Patriots

A New England Patriots helmet during the first half of the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

In light of the Patriots facing a heavy fine rather than a more serious punishment – and of leaked video footage revealing that their video crew apologized for recording the Bengals’ sideline and claimed they didn’t know it was illegal – it certainly appears to be a case of an honest mistake by an inexperienced cameraman. And a sloppily-managed project by the team’s more seasoned videographers.

Last week the team suspended one of the top people on the crew responsible for the illegal taping of the Bengals’ sideline, according to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. The report identifies the suspended “producer/videographer” as Dave Mondillo, who is a full-time employee of Kraft Sports Productions.

In a statement last week, the Patriots admitted that their video crew inappropriately recorded the Bengals’ sideline. But they also said the crew on hand in Cleveland included independent contractors who weren’t aware of NFL rules, which prohibit recording teams’ sidelines from the press box. So it’s unclear who directly decided to record the sideline and who else on the crew was aware of that person’s actions at the time.

The Pats are facing a heavy fine and potentially the loss or reduction of at least one draft pick, according to multiple reports. Previous precedents suggest that the team will receive a fine in the hundreds of thousands, at a minimum.

Bill Belichick said emphatically last week on the incident: “The football team, the football staff and the coaching staff had nothing to do with what happened. Nothing. So, we have no involvement in it.” So any fines or suspensions for people on the football side of the team would constitute a strong punishment if the league does ultimately believe the Patriots’ version of events.

UPDATE: Modillo has issued a statement, which you can read via NBC 10 WJAR’s and 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Tim McKone.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.