IRVING, Texas – The evidence from Sunday’s videotaping incident in Cleveland, rather than the New England Patriots’ history of being punished for improper videotaping of opponents’ coaching signals, will be the determining factor for the NFL as it decides whether to discipline the team for its admitted violation of league policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.
“I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident,” Goodell said at the conclusion of a two-day league meeting at a Dallas-area resort.
The league did not announce a decision in the case by the end of the meeting. Goodell was seen speaking to Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday, and Kraft spoke to other league executives Wednesday morning before leaving the meeting and attending a White House function later in the day.
As of early Wednesday, the league’s attitude that this incident does not rise to the level of a Spygate-like infraction by the Patriots had not changed, according to several people familiar with the deliberations. But the Patriots still could face discipline for their acknowledged violation of NFL videotaping rules. Goodell and Troy Vincent, the league’s executive director of football operations, were guarded in their public comments Wednesday, and provided no timetable for a resolution of the case.
“One of the things I’ve learned is you don’t draw a conclusion until you have all the information,” Goodell said. “So from our standpoint, I want to look at all the information. Once we have all the information, then we draw a conclusion.”
The league originally hoped to move quickly in its review and potentially make a decision this week. It was not clear Wednesday whether anything had come up during the investigation to complicate that.
The Patriots acknowledged they violated league policy when a video crew working for them shot footage of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during Sunday’s Bengals-Browns game. But the Patriots said the video was shot for an online feature on one of their scouts, not for football purposes. The Patriots face the Bengals this Sunday in Cincinnati.
Goodell punished the Patriots in 2007 in Spygate, stripping the team of a first-round draft choice and fining Coach Bill Belichick and the franchise a total of $750,000. Goodell said Wednesday that the Patriots’ history is a factor now, but not the main consideration in the decision.
Bengals owner Mike Brown declined to comment as he walked past reporters Wednesday following the meeting. Vincent said the league has no plans to share the content of the video with other teams after it makes its decision.
“We haven’t in the past given clubs or overall club briefings on any decision that we’ve come up with that’s either been rendered by myself or the commissioner,” Vincent said. “We like to keep our normal process in place. We’ll make a decision. There will be a determination. We’ll move forward.”
Goodell also addressed other topics following the meeting:
– Colin Kaepernick: Goodell said the league has “moved on” from its failed attempt to coordinate a workout last month in Atlanta for the free agent quarterback.
“I haven’t thought about this in a few weeks,” Goodell said. “This was, as I’ve said to you before, about creating an opportunity . . .. And we created that opportunity. It was a unique opportunity, a credible opportunity. And he chose not to take it. I understand that. And we’ve moved on.”
Kaepernick staged his own workout at an Atlanta-area high school after deliberations between his representatives and the league over the details of his planned workout at the Falcons’ training facility broke down. He has not played in the league since the 2016 season.
– CBA negotiations: Negotiations between the league and the NFL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement are scheduled to resume this week. Owners discussed the state of the negotiations for roughly an hour Wednesday, Goodell said.
“I know that we’re committed to work hard and try to keep the issues at the [bargaining] table and try to see if we can reach an agreement,” Goodell said.
– Antonio Brown investigation: The league’s investigation of free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown remains ongoing, Goodell said. NFL investigators are following up on information provided by Brown when they interviewed him, according to Goodell.
“They have more work to do,” Goodell said. “They’re following up on that. I’ll get an update when we have more information.”