NFL statement on Deflategate discipline



The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:

For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.

Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.

Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”

Following are excerpts from Troy Vincent’s letters to the Patriots and Tom Brady:

From Troy Vincent’s letter to the Patriots:
“On May 6th, independent investigator Ted Wells issued his report regarding the footballs used by the Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship Game. That report established that the footballs used by the Patriots were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL’s Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots. The activities of the Patriots’ employees were thoroughly documented in the report, including through a series of text messages and telephone communications, as well as evidence of a breach in pre-game protocol. In addition, the conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis, as detailed in the report.

“Based on the extensive record developed in the investigation and detailed in the Wells report, and after full consideration of this matter by the Commissioner and the Football Operations department, 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. In making this determination, we have accepted the findings contained in the comprehensive report independently prepared by Mr. Wells and his colleagues.

“In determining that a violation occurred, we applied the standard of proof stated in the Integrity of the Game Policy: namely, preponderance of the evidence, meaning that ‘as a whole, the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.’ This is a well-recognized legal standard, which is applied in courts and workplaces every day throughout the country. The evidence gathered during the investigation and reviewed in the report more than satisfy this standard and demonstrate an ongoing plan by at least certain Patriots’ employees to deflate footballs, to do so in a secretive manner after the game officials have certified the footballs as suitable for play, and to hide these activities even from their own supervisors.

“As you know, we regard violations of competitive rules as significant and deserving of a strong sanction, both to punish the actual violation and to deter misconduct in the future. 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. 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.

“It is impossible to determine whether this activity had an effect on the outcome of games or what that effect was. There seems little question that the outcome of the AFC Championship Game was not affected. But this has never been a significant factor in assessing discipline. There are many factors which affect the outcome of a game. It is an inherently speculative exercise to try to assign specific weight to any one factor. The 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. 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.

“Here, there are several factors that merit strong consideration in assessing discipline. The first is the club’s prior record. In 2007 the club and several individuals were sanctioned for videotaping signals of opposing defensive coaches in violation of the Constitution and Bylaws. Under the Integrity of the Game Policy, this prior violation of competitive rules was properly considered in determining the discipline in this case.

“Another important consideration identified in the Policy is ‘the extent to which the club and relevant individuals cooperated with the investigation.’ The Wells report identifies two significant failures in this respect. The first involves the refusal by the club’s attorneys to make Mr. McNally available for an additional interview, despite numerous requests by Mr. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation. The second was the failure of Tom Brady to produce any electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information. Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

“Finally, it is significant that key witnesses – Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally – were not fully candid during the investigation.

“In accepting the findings of the report, we note that the report identified no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of any member of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Bill Belichick, or by any Patriots’ staff member other than Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally, including head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld. Similarly, the Wells report is clear that Patriots ownership and executives did not participate in any way in the misconduct, or have knowledge of the misconduct.

“Nonetheless, it remains a fundamental principle that the club is responsible for the actions of club employees. This principle has been applied to many prior cases. Thus, while no discipline should or will be imposed personally on any owner or executive at the Patriots, discipline is appropriately imposed on the club.”

From Troy Vincent’s letter to Tom Brady:

“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.

“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”

71 responses to “NFL statement on Deflategate discipline

  1. Seems PSI can get you in more trouble than beating your wife/Girlfriend…

  2. Wow kinda a steep punishment. Maybe this will scare other teams into straightening up also and we can enjoy a more legit league.

  3. Its BS that it took the league almost a week after the report was released to reveal Toms punishment. Roger didn’t have the balls to punish the Pats or Brady himself so he releases the report, gauges public perception then hands out his punishment.

  4. Wow. Strong statement.

    Brady and the Patriots got off light. Their 2014 championship should have been vacated, but instead will be forever tainted.

  5. This is a terrible precedent the league is setting here. They are being painfully inconsistent with what they deem as proper punishment. If the reactions from the fans and media are to decide what type of discipline players and teams should receive, then how did Michael Vick ever play again? How was Greg Hardy able to sign somewhere?

    When did the kangaroo court of public opinion become the official court of the NFL?

  6. This been going on other qb’s have admitted n nothin happen Brady was jus the fall guy…Why is the NFL leaving it up to the teams to have there own balls b/c it’s a qb league always been…Brady most be feeling like a black man getting punished with no evidence on him at all damn…

  7. How can you have a “preponderance of evidence ” when you have no evidence. It’s all circumstantial and speculative if you read the actual report and don’t listen to the media hype.
    Failure to cooperate? That’s BS. Everyone cooperated. Brady spent an entire day being questioned. He didn’t turn over his phone and didn’t need to. They had the two employee phones. Did they think Brady emailed himself? Not a Patriots fan but this stinks.

  8. If I’m Jastremski or McNally, I would be setting up my “60 mins” interview right now. They’ve got nothing else to lose now by doing at tell all. The Pats and Brady got slapped on the wrist and now they are pretty much jobless.

  9. public execution wouldn’t be enough for the Jets, Dolphins Indy crowd……

  10. I also like how the NFL has a set penalty for tampering with footballs and its a $25,000 fine. Nevermind the already set rules and punish. Let’s quadruple the fine, fine the QB 4 games, and dock the team 2 picks including a first rounder.

  11. Wow. Tom and Kraft will sue. Defamation of character is legally actionable. Watch us repeat . This is a Patriots motivator. Such bs. JealousyGate. Aaron Rogers instructs to over-inflate. Go after him next? Tom for President. This is a travesty. The haters will love this.

  12. This is BULLSH¡T.
    Can you say double standard???
    On this upcoming season, Brady and the Pats are gonna go for the jugular.
    Watch out.

  13. The only reason I’d want to see Brady suspended for the Cowboys game is so we can see Romo (EIU) vs Garoppolo (EIU).

  14. Todays edition of the NFL punishment chart:

    Weed = 4 games
    Performance enhancing drugs = 4 games
    Blatant cheating = 4 games
    Domestic violence = 6 games minimum

  15. I actually starting to wonder if they read their own report???

    Roger Goodell, Troy Vincent, Mike Kensil should be so proud of themselves, they used incomplete science, no facts to tarnish someone’s reputation.

    Listen you idiots read your own report starting on pg. 200, the Colts footballs should have lost 1.0 to 1.2 PSI they didn’t, why not??? That defies the Ideal Gas Law, you knuckleheads didn’t do your job and look into the fact that the Colts stored their football’s next to a propane heater on the sidelines, so all of your comparisons and pointing the finger of guilt at the Patriots and scientific facts in the report are flawed….

    You need to learn something about vapor pressure loss as well, but that’s besides the point, your report was very flawed, number issues with a lack of REAL SCIENCE.

  16. Is it lost on any of you Patriots kool aid drinkers that the two equipment guys, who were likely just doing as they were ordered to do by Tom Brady, lost their jobs? Apparently, that’s not your worry –just like it wasn’t Brady’s. Yeesh.

  17. Fair warning to the Colts :

    Hold on to your panties the next time you play a vengeful Brady and the Pats.

    It won’t be pretty.

  18. If the NFL is going to hand out draconian penalties for weed that is consumed off the field then they had to take action on something that actually affects the game.

  19. That whole organization is slimy. I’ll bet Brady didn’t surrender his phone because there’s proof in it that Belicheat knew about the whole thing.

  20. welltobefair says:
    May 11, 2015 5:58 PM
    This is a terrible precedent the league is setting here. They are being painfully inconsistent with what they deem as proper punishment. If the reactions from the fans and media are to decide what type of discipline players and teams should receive, then how did Michael Vick ever play again? How was Greg Hardy able to sign somewhere?
    When did the kangaroo court of public opinion become the official court of the NFL?

    vincewilforkwilleatyou says:
    May 11, 2015 6:05 PM
    I also like how the NFL has a set penalty for tampering with footballs and its a $25,000 fine. Nevermind the already set rules and punish. Let’s quadruple the fine, fine the QB 4 games, and dock the team 2 picks including a first rounder.

    I agree with you both. The inconsistency of punishment over the years has not done anything for the integrity of the game. The job of policing the game is a thankless job.

  21. I don’t get it. I’d there was extensive evidence against the Patriots why didn’t they put it in the Wells report?

  22. Goodell will be gone before the regular season begins. Once again the buffoon sets himself and the league up for a big black eye. Let the lawsuits begin.

  23. A football that the league should b control of is getting more coverage then the NFL itself n n e other thang in sports can’t wait til WWE come on….

  24. For once I agree with Pats homers: This certainly IS a DOUBLE STANDARD!!

    If ignorance by the HC is no excuse for Payton in the Saints bounty scandal, why is BB’s ignorance an excuse for him not getting docked a few games?

    Sean Payton should sue.

    And I’d love Brady to sue, since he’ll then have to open up that cell phone and email system to “prove” his innocence.

  25. Weak, Brady should miss the entire season. Kraft used his influence to lighten Brady’s suspension but it still does nothing to alter the history that the Pats have never won a Superbowl without either the help of Spygate or deflategate.

  26. Seems fair to me (though I bet Brady gets his suspension reduced to 2 games). Find a 5 year old and ask him/her what should happen to cheaters!!! ALSO the league needs to get off their butt and take control of the footballs. If the PSI is so damn important, WHY are teams controlling their own balls???

  27. In 2012 the New York Times ran an article about how many months before games Eli Manning roughed up footballs and broke them in. How was that not worse than what happened here?

  28. NFL: Brady didn’t cooperate by handing over his phone, despite ‘safeguards’.

    Translation: We’re pissed off we didn’t even get any naked pix of Gisele out of this lame investigation. And, hey we got Jastremski’s and McNally’s phones, and it’s not like we took their casual text messages out of context and made them look like cheating buffoons. (Which was just the cover we needed for our complete lack of evidence.)

    Give this a few weeks. The NFL is soon to discover it just hung itself by its own rope.

  29. Kraft, the Patriots and Tom Brady all ought to sue Goodell, Vincent, Wells, and the NFL for this sham of lies called an investigation.

    Cant wait to see some owner on Commish crime.

  30. vincewilforkwilleatyou says:
    May 11, 2015 6:05 PM
    I also like how the NFL has a set penalty for tampering with footballs and its a $25,000 fine. Nevermind the already set rules and punish. Let’s quadruple the fine, fine the QB 4 games,….

    Quadruple is bad math but more importantly the rule does not say this. Tots not limited to 25k. Reading things helps.

  31. Wow, I bet the Vikings and the Panthers are going to really get it now! You remember them, the teams actually caught on camera tampering with game balls in the middle of a game. I’m sure they’ll get hit any second!

  32. Sean Payton got a full year because he “should have known” what was going on…

    … and Bill gets…nothing?

    I thought after Bountygate, head coaches were responsible for EVERYTHING that goes on in the building and on the field whether they know about it or not.

    Way to go with the consistency Roger!

  33. Listen to the Pats fans try justifying that he’s innocent. They sound as dopey as Brady did during his press conference.

    To the Pats Fan with the Holiday Inn degree in Gas Law, the Giants and Packers balls didn’t deflate and they played in 23 below. The Deflator took them into the bathroom after they were checked.

  34. They state the integrity of the game and this is all they get? That is much bigger than whatever off field issues someone has. That is not effecting the integrity.

  35. The funny thing is page228 says they cannot determine with certainty whether or not tampering occurred.

    You also have a sketchy scientific analysis done by a company known for delivering desired results to clients.

    I sense a legal battle coming up.

  36. They should have been stripped of their SB win. No fine, no suspension for Golden Boy. Just hit them where it hurts.

  37. So the suspend the two low men on the totem pole, John Jastremski and James McNally, a week before the report is made public? So there was already negotiation between the Pats and the league office. Apparently what the Pats offered was either accepted or partially accepted.

    4 games is too much. 1 game maybe.

    At least we are not talking about the rampant domestic violence.

  38. hmm a minimum 25K fine has morphed into a 1m fine, loss of a first round pick in 2016, 4th round in 2017, starting qb suspended for 4 games. Nice to see the NFL is objective when it comes to the Patriots.

  39. gibbo3884 says:
    May 11, 2015 6:06 PM
    Wow. Tom and Kraft will sue. Defamation of character is legally actionable.
    Sue for defamation? LOL

  40. Troy Vincent Goodell’s henchman. told Peterson to take the deal and punishment would be time served….. liars one and all…

  41. Brady got off light he is a cheater and i wont feel bad if he ever is to get hurt karma mofo

  42. How about they change the rule where teams provide their own equipment. The patriots basically bought a championship for a cool million. Seems like a major conflict of interest to allow any team to provide their own game balls.

  43. Hopefully, Yaz and Rand will pour their hearts out to Barbara Walters in the most watched TV event of this century.

  44. pef12 says:May 11, 2015 6:05 PM

    public execution wouldn’t be enough for the Jets, Dolphins Indy crowd……

    Add st louis to the list they were cheated out of a superbowl ask faulk his feelings no one likes a cheater

  45. Tom Brady is an angel, and if this angel wanted a slightly less inflated ball than the rules allow, that’s ok, cuz God is on his side.

  46. I guess Kraft won’t be getting any “impology” from the league. 31 Teams and their fans rejoice! 1 repeat cheating franchise and their whiny fans cry. ************

  47. There is a ball boy who actually named himself The “Deflator”. C’mon people. Keep it real. Patriots fans should start holding the right people accountable instead of screaming about a sting or some other stupidity. The punishment is fair. Now move on.

  48. I’m a Raiders fan, so I’ve got as much reason to hate Brady and the Pats as anyone. But this punishment is so over the top it isn’t funny.

    The deflated balls had no impact on the game or Brady’s performacne, and everyone knows that. His numbers were better in the 2nd half with regulation balls, and Pats blew them out, and the Superbowl was played with NFL sanctioned balls. Anyone calling for the titles to be vacated is a deadest moron.

    What they are guilty of is trying to get an advantage, without actually getting one. I see this more like corked bats. More of a ‘mental edge’ that has proven to be ineffective. You would get an 8 game suspension in baseball for that (8 games in baseball 5% of the season, so roughly 1 NFL game) and no one would ever take draft picks.

    A one game suspension and a $50K fine for Brady would be fair and reasonable. A 7th round pick if you wanted to be harsh. All Goodell has done is made himself look tough, knowing full well this will get appealed and reduced to less than half (I’ll say 2 games, and the Pats will lose the 7th round pick only).

    If the NFL wants to do something about REAL cheating, how about Olympic style random drug testing, 12 months of the year, and minimum 12 month bans for a 1st positive.

  49. Goddell is a dead man walking
    Do you mean like Brady is for 4 games?

    I just read that Brady signed a contract to be a spokesman for Cheetos.

  50. Goodell’s intent was a SB matchup of Luck vs Wilson, and the Pat’s balls were overinflated by the officials, just like prior to the Jets game earlier in the season. Brady decided not to play along with the farce, and had his guys deflate the balls that the NFL officials had tampered with in an effort to give the Colts an edge.

    Not saying Brady didn’t do his part to cheat, but Goodell and his desire to pre-determine a matchup of young star QBs cheated first. My comments wouldn’t keep getting flagged by PFT if there wasn’t some truth to them. The Pats were NOT supposed to win another SB, so Brady is being dragged through the mud as punishment for not playing along with the staged outcome. He screwed up the SB “storyline” and will pay for that dearly. When this comment gets deleted again it will be clear that this is the REAL story.

  51. How ridiculous is this?!! The Home Team provides the game day footballs. The Ref’s inspect them like they normally would ……………. BOTH Teams ….. understand NFL …… BOTH TEAMS use the same Footballs.

  52. To those who think his 4 games will get redused need to know 4 games was a reduced sentence…just because it was Brady. Apart from Manning, Breeze or Rodgers…any other QB would have gotten worse.

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