On October 30, the day before the Denver Broncos played the San Francisco 49ers in London, Steve Scarnecchia, Denver’s video director, was present in Wembley Stadium,” Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.
“He was properly at the stadium, along with players, coaches and other club staff, to prepare for the October 31 game. During this time, the Broncos conducted their final walk-thru. After the Denver players and most of the other team staff left Wembley, Mr. Scarnecchia remained behind to continue setting up his equipment for the next day. At one point he noticed that the 49ers were conducting their walk-thru practice, and he surreptitiously recorded a portion (approximately six minutes in length) of that practice.”
Oops. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Scarnecchia has been fired with cause, the Broncos have been fined $50,000 because they are responsible for the conduct of their employees, and McDaniels has been fined $50,000 for not immediately reporting the infraction.
But the league also has concluded that coach Josh McDaniels refused to watch the tape.
I remember another team doing this…
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that Scarnecchia is a former employee of the New Englandh Patriots.
Goodell’s letter points out that the investigation revealed no active culpability on McDaniels’ part. “Our investigators immediately and independently interviewed Coach McDaniels and did so under circumstances that would have made it impossible for him to have spoken to Mr. Scarnecchia in advance.
NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Denver Broncos Chief Operating Officer Joe Ellis spoke with reporters Saturday in a conference call about the Broncos’ taping of the 49ers’ walk-through practice.
Ellis said no one else involved with the Broncos had any knowledge of Scarnecchia’s actions. Of course this doesn’t explain why McDaniels didn’t immediately come forward to report this. McDaniels learned that Scarnecchia had taped the walk-through on October 30, but the league office didn’t find out until November 8.
“Josh should have come forward as soon as he found out,” Ellis acknowledged.