New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the first 4 games of the upcoming season without pay over the ‘Deflategate’ scandal which erupted shortly before the 2015 Super Bowl, it has been announced.
The NFL made the punishment public on Monday, five days after the investigative Wells Report stated that Brady was ‘aware of the inappropriate activities’ his team practiced – which involved deflated footballs – during their pre-Super Bowl game with Indianapolis Colts, a game his team won.
Following that defeat, the Colts launched a complaint alleging that the footballs used in the match were deflated in such a way that it could be gripped more firmly and caught easily. An investigation by the NFL later confirmed that 11 of the 12 footballs used by Brady was inflated below the acceptable standards.
Brady has since denied any involvement in tampering with the footballs, saying earlier this year when the controversy was at its peak, ‘When I pick those footballs out, at that point, you know, to me, they’re perfect.’ He has not yet commented on his suspension.
Brady was not the only one punished over the scandal. Patriots, who are the current champions, were fined $1 million, and their first round pick of the 2016 Draft and 4th round pick of 2017 Draft taken away by the NFL. The two locker room attendants who are believed to have tampered with the balls were also suspended indefinitely without pay.
‘Brady’s behavior was detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football,’ NFL Executive Vice President Vincent Troy said in a statement. ‘The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. 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.’