Entertainment & Sports Law

NFL fines Patriots $1M, eliminates 2 draft picks, suspends QB Tom Brady 4 games for 'Deflategate'

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The National Football League lowered the boom Monday on the New England Patriots for deflating footballs in its AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts prior to the Super Bowl.

The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million; eliminated next year’s first-round draft pick and a fourth-round draft pick in 2017; and suspended quarterback Tom Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, for the first four games of the season. The NFL also indefinitely suspended the two equipment staff members accused of reducing the air pressure in previously approved AFC game footballs, the Associated Press reports.

Brady is not accused of actually deflating the footballs, but the NFL alleges he played a role in what has popularly come to be known as “Deflategate” based on a Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison report overseen by attorney Ted Wells. It said Brady “was at least generally aware” the staffers’ plan to lower the air pressure in the balls under the 12.5 pounds per square inch required by the NFL. It also accused Brady of a lack of cooperation in the investigation.

“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,” said Troy Vincent, who serves as the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, in a letter to Brady.

The New York Times (reg. req.) also has a story.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Meet the lawyers behind high-profile investigations”

ABAJournal.com: “Law firm: ‘More probable than not’ that Patriots deflated footballs in AFC game before Super Bowl”

Associated Press: “Patriots Tom Brady says deflated footballs hasn’t detracted from title”

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