The National Football League (NFL) suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady four games and fined the team $1 million for the "DeflateGate" scandal.
The National Football League (NFL) has suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady without pay for four games for his role in the "DeflateGate" scandal.
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NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal broke the news on May 11. The league suspended Brady for "violating the NFL policy on the integrity of the game." In addition, the NFL also fined the Patriots $1 million and forfeited their first-round draft choice in 2016.
Brady's agent, Don Yee, told ESPN on Monday he will appeal the suspension.
He said, "the discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis...And if the hearing officer is is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic," per ESPN.
This will be the first time in seven years Brady will miss an NFL game. He underwent season-ending left knee surgery in Sept. 2008 which forced him to sit out 15 games.
The league issued an official statement on its verdict on the "DeflateGate" issue on Monday which also states the two involved Patriots employees, John Jastremski and James McNally, have been "indefinitely suspended" by the team:
"For the violation of 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 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."
Vincent penned a letter to the Patriots in the same press release saying the Patriots may have deflated footballs even before the Jan. 18 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
He also stresses a deflated football did not adversely affect the outcome of that game, but the more important underlying issue is the Patriots violated the league's playing rules:
"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, particulrly in light of the evidence referring to deflation of footballs going back to before the beginning of the 2014 season."
Vincent also wrote a letter to Brady in the press release, saying his general awareness (based on the Ted Wells report) and refusal to provide electronic evidence for the purposes of the investigation "clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football."
To win four Super Bowl is outstanding. I know Tom Brady is a great competitor and leader. I feel sorry for him and patriots nation!— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) May 11, 2015
The $1 million fine matches the one the league handed out to former San Francisco 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, Jr. for his role in a Louisiana gambling scandal in 1999. This is the second time in eight years the Patriots have violated league rules after their involvement in the "SpyGate" scandal in 2007, per ESPN.
Back then, the NFL fined the Patriots $500,000 and head coach Bill Belichick $250,000 and also forfeited a future first-rounder for illegally videotaping play signals of the New York Jets, per ESPN.
The 37-year-old Brady has thrown for 53,258 yards, 392 touchdowns and 143 interceptions for a 95.9 passer rating in 209 career regular-season games, per ESPN stats.
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