Sometimes, you just aren't afforded the benefit of the doubt.
If you are the Patriots, that "sometimes" can feel like "never," and for good reason. Once again, the team is in the middle of a rules violation controversy with the NFL, but for now, the issues aren't as clear-cut as in Spygate or Deflategate.
This infraction was committed in the 2023 offseason, and it resulted in the NFL taking away two of the team's 10 allotted OTA sessions, ESPN's Mike Reiss reported Wednesday.
Reiss noted that Bill Belichick's team joins the Cowboys (2021, 2022), Bears (2022), 49ers (2021), Jaguars (2021), Ravens (2018) and Seahawks (2016) as franchises to be punished for violating offseason rules in recent years.
Here's what you need to know about the Patriots losing OTA time.
Why did the Patriots lose two OTA dates?
For now, it's unclear what the Patriots did to lose the dates. Reiss' sources said only that the team violated league rules.
The two sessions removed from the Patriots' schedule are on Thursday, May 25, and a date sometime next week.
It is unclear whether more punishment is coming from the league.
As outlined in the NFL collective bargaining agreement, live contact is prohibited in OTAs. In 2022, the Cowboys were penalized for holding practices that were considered too physical. Head coach Mike McCarthy was fined $100,000 for the violation.
Once the Patriots news broke, NFL fans were quick to pile on the franchise for its history of cheating. Belichick was a common theme on Twitter.
Are we surprised with Belicheat?— 𝙇𝙖𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙫𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙧 (@BurntByBateman) May 25, 2023
i would suggest the patriots stop cheating but cheating was the cornerstone of their dynasty https://t.co/GmMpcivmCY— Denny Carter (@CDCarter13) May 25, 2023
Bill Belichick is the poster child for the saying— Lorenzo Jackson (@CoachJack359) May 25, 2023
If you aint cheating you aint trying https://t.co/9RhW4NAOcU
The Patriots are known cheaters. When he’s not cheating, and he doesn’t have Tom Brady, Belichick is a drunk Norv Turner. https://t.co/jhTPyTwTLo— MANIAC (@ZachSheldon) May 25, 2023
Cheating earlier than usual huh?— PF (@RealistPF) May 25, 2023
Here's hoping the Patriots players enjoy those extra two days off.