The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and will take away their first-round draft pick in 2016 and fourth-round selection in 2017. If they have more than one pick in either of those rounds, they will lose the high pick, and they can’t trade those selections.
Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally, who were cited throughout the Ted Wells investigation into the under-inflated footballs supplied by the Patriots in the AFC Championship, were suspended indefinitely last week.
In suspending Brady, the NFL classified his actions, both the connections made in the Wells Report and his lack of cooperation in the investigation, as conduct detrimental to the NFL. Brady can participate in all offseason activities, training camp and preseason games before his suspension takes effect.
“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, referring to the NFL Executive Vice President, who was involved in the disciplinary process. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”
The NFL said the Patriots’ participation in the under-inflation of the balls used in the AFC Championship was “thoroughly documented” in the investigation and the “conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis.” The announcement of the punishment for the Patriots said they violated the NFL’s policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules and the official playing rules.
The league claimed a preponderance of evidence in concluding that it was “more probable than not” that Patriots employees intentionally deflated the footballs used their win over the Indianapolis Colts and did so in a “secretive manner.”
“In this case, the footballs were intentionally deflated in an effort to provide a competitive advantage to Tom Brady after having been certified by the game officials as being in compliance with the playing rules,” the NFL reported in issuing the discipline. “While we cannot be certain when the activity began, the evidence suggests that January 18th was not the first and only occasion when this occurred, particularly in light of the evidence referring to deflation of footballs going back to before the beginning of the 2014 season.”
The NFL said Brady, Jastremski and McNally “were not fully candid” during the investigation, but said there was no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge by head coach Bill Belichick or other Patriots staff members.
Watch: Dr. Roto calls for the 4-game suspension a week ago