Jets instigated sideline interrogation of three Kraft Sports employees
While it’s still unclear whether the Jets instigated the sweep of their locker room for bugs prior to last Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium (more on that later in the day), it’s crystal clear that the Jets prompted a separate investigation of the Patriots during the Week Seven contest between the two teams.
PFT has obtained a copy of an email message detailing the incident that happened during the third quarter of the game.
“Jets Security Director Robert Mastroddi made an inquiry with NFL Security regarding the presence of two individuals wearing headsets and Patriots attire, who were positioned outside of the bench area on the Patriots sideline,” the email states. “Mastroddi requested to know who they were, and expressed concern given their proximity to the Patriots bench.”
Lenny Bandy and Dick Farley of NFL Security thereafter investigated the situation, questioning three employees of Kraft Sports, whose responsibilities include in-stadium entertainment, such as the music and other sound coming through speakers in the stadium. (Kraft Sports is owned by Robert Kraft, who also owns the Patriots.)
One of the employees also is responsible for keeping fresh batteries in the referee’s in-stadium microphone. But Mastroddi didn’t initially accept the explanation that a team employee would be responsible for ensuring the performance of the referee’s microphone; Mastroddi said “people responsible for maintaining the referee’s microphone should be League contractors and not Kraft Sports employees wearing Patriots gear.” In response to Mastroddi’s concerns, Bandy called 345 Park Avenue and spoke with Jay Reid of the officiating department, who confirmed that the referee’s in-stadium microphone is handled by the teams, not by the league.
The email obtained by PFT points out that a reporter from Sports Illustrated had approached Mastroddi after the game, because the reporter noticed that Mastroddi had been “very active” with NFL Security on the sideline. Mastroddi said he declined comment on or off the record, but that he informed Jets executives about his concerns and the ensuing investigation.
Asked Friday by reporters about the “alleged locker room sweep” on Sunday, Jets coach Todd Bowles said, “I know nothing about it.”
It’s unclear whether Bowles knows about the separate investigation; he wasn’t asked that specific question. But it’s hard to imagine that Bowles didn’t know or hadn’t since heard about it.
Asked whether he’s suspicious of the Patriots, Bowles said, “No, we just go up there to play football.”
The team’s head of security was doing more than playing football on Sunday. Whatever his game was, Mastroddi struck out swinging. The league ultimately found that “there is nothing to indicate that the conduct or actions of the aforementioned individuals [on Sunday] were inappropriate,” and the league closed the matter on Monday.