FOXBOROUGH, Ma. (WIVB) — After much anticipation, it appears there will be repercussions on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for deflating footballs to gain an edge.
The NFL says Brady will be suspended for four games from the NFL without pay — a measure which will cost him just over $1 million — and the New England Patriots will be fined $1 million. The Patriots will also forfeit their first round draft pick in 2016 and fourth round draft pick in the 2017 draft.
The punitive actions follow the conclusion of an NFL investigation into the deflated footballs ahead of the Colts AFC Championship game. The report found that star quarterback Tom Brady likely did know about the footballs.
Text conversations between equipment managers and Brady led the investigation to come to the conclusion. The two equipment managers, John Jastremski and James McNally, were also suspended indefinitely by the New England Patriots.
“We have determined that the Patriots have violated the NFL’s Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules, as well as the Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs,” Troy Vincent, executive vice president of Football Operations for the NFL, said. “In making this determination, we have accepted the findings contained in the comprehensive report independently prepared by Mr. Wells and his colleagues.
The punishment to the New England Patriots will not affect the club’s wins in the record books, specifically it won’t affect the AFC Championship and the 2014 Superbowl victory. Vincent, who handed down the judgement, said that was never a significant factor in assessing discipline for this event.
“Key consideration in any case like this is that the playing rules exist for a reason, and all clubs are entitled to expect that the playing rules will be followed by participating teams,” Vincent said. “Violations that diminish the league’s reputation for integrity and fair play cannot be excused simply because the precise impact on the final score cannot be determined.”
What the NFL did consider when assigning judgement against the Patriots, was the club’s record for violating the game’s rules in the past, the club’s failure to cooperate fully and transparently in the independent investigation and the refusal of the three key witnesses (Brady, and the two equipment managers) to be fully open.
Brady’s four game suspension is particularly important to the Buffalo Bills, as the Patriots come to Buffalo in the second week of the season. Barring a successful appeal, the Patriots will be without their signal caller when they face off against the Bills.