If there was one team that knew even the appearance of impropriety would be turned into a major story, it was the New England Patriots. A large part of that is self-inflicted, what with the numerous cheating or perhaps not really cheating but iffy scandals of years past. And if they were to be embroiled in an incident, the very worst thing would be if it involved the use of a video camera trained on another team without their permission.
But it is the Patriots who find themselves in the tempest for that very reason. The situation is so bad that even Ted Bruschi, who is extremely loyal, is prepared to say that the optics look bad and there was a fundamental lack of thinking on display.
Only the most blinded-by-fandom New Englander would take any issue with what Bruschi said. It's pretty undeniable. But even this concession is fueled by the acceptance that this was all a misunderstanding. Skeptical people everywhere can make up their own minds on if this videographer was freelancing or his job included some light spying.
Someone messed up. Or someones messed up. The NFL's punishment will tell us which one of those they believe to be true.