Bennett's recycled barbs about Witten don't get return fire

Bennett's recycled barbs about Witten don't get return fire

The oft-exhumed, multi-platform ESPN interview with Martellus and Michael Bennett was hauled out of its crypt once again this week. 

It's hard to divine exactly what prompts the Worldwide Leader to decide that it's time to repurpose an offseason conversation with the Patriots tight end and the Seahawks defensive lineman and present it as if it just happened, but if the aim is creating new buzz with old quotes, it works.

This week, ESPN produced a feature for one of its shows using the months-old, on-camera footage then sent its reporters into the field to ask players and coaches for their reactions to the repackaged, repurposed, recycled quotes. 

One of the targets was Jason Witten. Martellus Bennett said that he "hated" Witten when the two were teammates in Dallas. 

Witten was asked this week about Bennett's review. 

"Busy schedule,” Witten said. “I’ll make sure to get around to that real quick to see it. I did hear about it. Marty is a good player. He really is. He enjoys entertaining, but I’m glad he’s in a good place now and he’s having a good year so far. He is. He’s a good football player.” 

Bill Belichick was similarly asked this week about comments Martellus Bennett made about the Bears roster. The comments may have been made in August as well and publicized or they may have just been brought to light this week. Tough to keep track. Anyway, Belichick wasn't up to talk about them.

If this seems like a criticism of ESPN's approach to creating new waves of news based on earlier reporting, it is. And I probably wouldn't be so attuned to it it weren't for the fact ESPN got in on the ground floor with blatantly incorrect reporting on Deflategate then remained in cahoots with the NFL to allow that incorrect report to stand even when the NFL gathered information that would have rebutted it. More than a year later, ESPN continued to falsely feed perception that the Patriots purported actions were definitely sinister as opposed to possibly eyebrow-raising.
All the while, ESPN leveraged that original report and the perception it created to feed the content maw on radio, TV, digitally and in its magazine up to and through Tom Brady's return last week when it shamelessly turned the countdown to the Browns game into Brady Week on all platforms. 

The line between reporting the news and manufacturing the news isn't blurry at all. It's been obliterated. 

Actually, as I think about it, is one guy hating a former co-worker even "news" in the first place? Or is his saying so publicly "news"? I can't deny it's good gossip and illuminating information and that all of us - me, CSN New England, NBC as well - toggle between personality "news" and entertainment and actual news affecting related to the football product. But the appearance of creating news that should have seemed like a bridge too far is now one we stand ready to cross while ESPN is already waving to us from the other side. 

Report: Pats' punishments for videotaping could include fines, draft picks

Report: Pats' punishments for videotaping could include fines, draft picks

While the investigation into the New England Patriots' illicit videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline last weekend is ongoing, The Washington Post's Mark Maske is reporting that the punishment could be aligned in severity with similiar game-day violations committed by other NFL teams in recent years.

That means fines in the range of six figures and/or a reduced round value on a draft pick — or worse still, the loss of one altogether:

"The NFL is likely to penalize the New England Patriots for their admitted violation of league video policy last weekend and is contemplating disciplinary measures in line with those imposed on teams in recent seasons for infractions of game-day rules, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

That could mean a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially the loss or reduction in value of a draft choice, typically a lower-level pick."

CURRAN: Preventable controversy is the last thing Belichick needed>>>

Looking for something similar to what the Patriots were levied for Spygate? Maske points out that punishment was clearly an exception, not a guardrail:

The Patriots have admitted wrongdoing in last Sunday's incident in Cleveland, in which a credentialed Patriots video crew member was caught filming the Bengals' sideline during their game against the Browns. New England has said the camera crew was there to feature a scout as part of their "Do Your Job" video series.

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Report: Julian Edelman, Ted Karras make trip with Patriots, Cowart out for Bengals game

Report: Julian Edelman, Ted Karras make trip with Patriots, Cowart out for Bengals game

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and center Ted Karras, who were each listed as questionable with injuries, made the trip to Cincinnati with the team Saturday but backup defensive tackle Byron Cowart was downgraded to out with a concussion, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Edelman, the team's leading receiver, has been battling shoulder and ankle injuries. Karras, the starting center, missed the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday with a knee injury. Both were limited in practice this week. 

The Patriots (10-3), coming off back-to-back losses to the Houston Texans and Chiefs, play the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.