The NFL announced Monday that Tom Brady has been suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on the integrity of the game. The team will also be fined $1 million and will forfeit a 2016 first rounder and 2017 fourth-round selection in the NFL Draft.
The massive punishment comes less than a week after independent investigator Ted Wells found that it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” regarding the deflation of Patriots game balls used in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts.
Commissioner Roger Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, who made it clear that Brady’s lack of cooperation with the league’s investigation was a factor in the punishment.
“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,” Vincent wrote in a letter to Brady. “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.”
Last year’s second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo is expected get the starting nod against thePittsburgh Steelers when the season gets underway September 10. Brady will return when thePatriots take on the Colts in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football. These will be the first games that Brady has missed since he tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft commented on the matter last week, saying his team “had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules.” He indicated, however, the team would accept any punishment the league hands down.
“At no time was there any intent — whatsoever — to try and compromise the integrity of the game,” Belichick said back in January. “I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and (the Patriots) have absolutely followed every rule to the letter.”