With “Deflategate” out of the way for the time being, “Spygate” has resurfaced following a published report Tuesday of new allegations regarding secret videotaping nearly eight years ago.

An ESPN report, which includes many interviews with anonymous sources, includes allegations that league owners were upset at the way the Patriots were punished for admitting videotaping other teams’ hand signals.

Included in the ESPN report are details on the scope of the videotaping – saying New England coach Bill Belichick admitted taping signals at more than 40 games. One unnamed owner told ESPN the punishment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted on for the deflated footballs scandal was really a “makeup call.”

Among the penalties Goodell tried to impose was a four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady, which was tossed out by a judge, pending an appeal by the NFL.

Patriots players did not seem fazed by the latest controversy regarding the franchise.

“Things are going to be written, things are going to be said, but it’s up to us as a team to ignore the noise and just focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said wide receiver Matthew Slater. “Simple as that.”

The Super Bowl champions open the season Thursday night at Gillette Stadium against the Steelers.

“It’s not going to help you win the football game, so everything that’s said outside this building you can’t pay attention,” Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said.

Added wide receiver Danny Amendola: “I’m just focused on the Steelers and getting ready to play the game. We had a good practice today. Everybody feels good, everybody’s running around. We’re excited to get it started.”

Goodell said he wasn’t aware of the ESPN story.

“I haven’t seen this report, but I can just tell you that I’m not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here,” he said. “There’s no connection in my mind to two incidents.”

However, NFL vice president Troy Vincent, in announcing the league’s penalties against Brady and the Patriots for Deflategate, said the severe penalties were partly the result of the Patriots’ past cheating associated with the Spygate scandal.

Goodell said his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft remained good, despite Kraft’s repeated criticism over the league’s handling of the Deflategate issue.

“We may disagree on this issue, but Robert and I continue to have a very strong relationship,” Goodell said. “We continue to work on league matters important to us. We disagree on this issue, but it’s a respectful disagreement.”

Goodell has said he will not attend the Patriots-Steelers game, in part because he doesn’t want to be a distraction.

“The focus should be on football,” he said. “I certainly don’t want to be a distraction. Everyone wants to get back to football.”


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