The NFL fined the Denver Broncos and their coach, Josh McDaniels, a total of $100,000 in connection with an incident last month in which a Broncos employee improperly videotaped about six minutes of a San Francisco 49ers practice the day before the teams played each other in London.
McDaniels and the Broncos were fined $50,000 each by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the league announced Saturday.
The Broncos fired the employee who did the videotaping and he faces a possible ban from the NFL, the league announced.
“We have no more important responsibility than preserving the integrity and competitive fairness of the game and avoiding any implication that games are decided by anything other than what takes place on the field,” Goodell wrote in a letter to Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, according to the league’s announcement.
The 49ers beat the Broncos, 24-16, at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 31.
Bowlen called the episode “personally disappointing.”
The employee who taped the 49ers’ practice, Steve Scarnecchia, was fired by the Broncos, the NFL announced.
Scarnecchia was also involved in the NFL’s last videotaping scandal, dubbed Spygate. After the Patriots were caught videotaping New York Jets coaches sending in signals during a 2007 game, the league’s investigation determined New England had violated rules over several seasons. Scarnecchia, who had left the Patriots by the time they were caught, was found to have taken part in the videotaping in 2000.
Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000 and coach Bill Belichick $500,000, and stripped the team of a first-round draft selection.
Since this is his second offense, Scarnecchia faces a hearing to determine whether he will be barred from the NFL for conduct detrimental to the league, according to the announcement.
McDaniels, who also worked for the Patriots during the 2007 incident, was fined for failing to report the Broncos incident to the league as required. The Broncos were fined because they were held accountable for their employees’ actions.
The NFL said Scarnecchia took the videotape of the 49ers’ practice to McDaniels but McDaniels refused to watch it. The league’s investigation found that no member of the Denver coaching staff watched the tape, either.
Saints defensive end Will Smith was arrested in Lafayette, La., after he was accused of grabbing his wife’s hair and pulling her down the street. Smith was released on $1,000 bond. Police said the two got into an argument while leaving a nightclub. Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel won’t play against the Bears today because of a knee injury. Once-feared pass rusher Shawne Merriman was placed on injured reserve by Buffalo with a nagging Achilles’ tendon injury. Carolina left guard Travelle Wharton (turf toe) and safeties Jordan Pugh (hamstring) and Marcus Hudson (ankle) won’t play against the Browns today. Giants tackle Shawn Andrews (back) is out of the hospital but is unlikely to be playing today.