Tom Brady and Sean Payton are not subject to discipline for tampering

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots
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The NFL has cracked down on the Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross for tampering with Tom Brady while he was still under contract to the Patriots and Buccaneers, and for tampering with Sean Payton while he was still under contract to the Saints. And that has some asking: Will Brady and Payton also face league discipline?

They will not. When NFL teams tamper with employees under contract to other teams, the NFL only punishes the party that does the tampering, not the employee who goes along with the tampering.

With coaches like Payton, the NFL could, and arguably should, change that rule easily: The league could institute a rule that if a team attempts to tamper with a coach who’s under contract with another team, that coach must immediately shut down all communication and report it to the league office or else the coach is subject to discipline as well. But at the moment, the NFL’s rules don’t punish the coaches on the receiving end of tampering communications.

For players like Brady, any policy that penalizes them for tampering would have to be negotiated through the NFL Players Association, and the NFLPA would surely object on the theory that if the league doesn’t like tampering, it’s incumbent upon the league to keep its owners in line.

So unless and until the rules change, coaches and players are free to talk to owners of other teams, even knowing that the owners are breaking the rules.

10 responses to “Tom Brady and Sean Payton are not subject to discipline for tampering

  1. Brady is the eventual owner of the NFL. They’re not going to do anything to upset him.

  2. Yes but Brady was in negotiations with the Dolphins to take an ownership take with the real goal of becoming their QB. Which is absolutely 100% against the rules.

    Why does Brady have such a hard time accepting that he’s not above the rules?

  3. Also clause 2 of the standard NFL contract says that players “agree to give his best efforts and loyalty to the Club”.

    Actively negotiating with another team while under contract isn’t loyalty to that club. It’s a breach of that contract. Surprised nobody else caught this.

  4. I doubt that coaches will ever be faced with that kind of rule change, because unlike their players, their skillset doesn’t diminish as quickly with age, and if a coach is listening to other offers, it’s clear that the offers are coming from better sources than the ones they’re working for

  5. As an unbiased Tampa Bay Bucs fan and season ticket holder, you must trust me when I say there is no reason that Tom Brady should have been disciplined.

  6. What about Sean Payton’s recent comments about the 3 teams he’d come back to coach. Feels like tampering. Or at least a little weasley.

  7. What about their agents? Don’t they have to be licensed in some form/fashion to work with the NFL or NFLPA? It takes two to tango, all parties seem culpable here. Everyone knew what they were doing. Maybe that’d work too well, and tampering would go away? It doesn’t seem like the NFL considers it bad for business, unless it’s thrown in their face? Case in point.

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