When the DeflateGate report emerged, it offered a somewhat-qualified condemnation for star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, concluding that he was at least “generally aware of the tampering.” Brady refused to fully cooperate in the probe, but the investigators found text messages between the two equipment managers that strongly suggested Brady not only kept tabs on the cheating, but also incentivized it. Still, at the time I was skeptical that the league would take action against one of its most bankable stars. “Brady should be penalized as well,” I wrote, “but don’t expect the league to sideline one of its biggest stars over something like this.”
Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, was suspended for four games after an investigator concluded he was probably aware that team personnel let air out of footballs for a playoff game.
“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.” the league said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.”
The punishment extends to the whole team, and especially the two men who conspired to manipulate the footballs. Both of them are now indefinitely suspended from the league, which means they’re not just looking for new jobs but new careers. The Patriots didn’t come out of this unscathed:
The league also fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks, including next years’ first-round choice.
The NFL also indefinitely suspended the two equipment staffers who carried out the plan, including one who called himself “The Deflator.”
The picks are from next year’s first round and 2017’s fourth round. The official NFL statement suggests that the lack of cooperation into the probe was a factor in determining the punishment:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 11, 2015
Assuming the league resolves any appeal before the start of next season, the Pats will have to face off against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Dallas without Brady. That’s great news for all four teams, because the Patriots have very little experience on the bench behind Brady. Their roster at the moment includes two other QBs, both drafted in 2014 — Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw 27 passes all of last year, and Garrett Gilbert, who has no stats at all listed on ESPN. Even a team like Jacksonville will feast on that kind of inexperience, so the Pats will have to play Let’s Make a Deal to get a journeyman backup soon.
Update: The Patriots got fined a million dollars, but they may come out on the plus side:
Though Tom Brady wasn't fined, he is scheduled to make $8 million this season. Being suspended 4 games costs Brady about $2 million.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 11, 2015
That’s not a fine, so the money doesn’t go to the league, I believe. Did the NFL just give the Pats a million-dollar bonus?