The Patriots were caught videotaping the opposing team’s signals. NFL policy states, “No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game.” Evidently, this clear rule was broken.
Prior to the fine imposed, Bill Belichick made the following statement.
“Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players,” the statement said. “Following the league’s decision, I will have further comment.”
The word apologize is used … that’s it.
Then, after the fine …
“I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight’s ruling. Once again, I apologize to the Kraft family and every person directly or indirectly associated with the New England Patriots for the embarrassment, distraction and penalty my mistake caused. I also apologize to Patriots fans and would like to thank them for their support during the past few days and throughout my career. As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week’s game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress. Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.”
The required words are present, “accept full responsibility” & “apologize”, but this apology fails on several fronts. First, it is passed off as a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. That is not accepting full responsibility. It’s saying “I didn’t know better.” Second, there is the minimizing of the actions in the “never used sideline video…” comment. Does he really want to say that he doesn’t cheat as much as he might be tempted to? No real admission of guilt. Poor apology.