Tom Brady hit with four-game ban and Patriots get $1 million fine over 'deflategate' scandal
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been banned for four games and the club have been fined one million US dollars for the use of under-inflated footballs in last season's AFC Championship game.
The NFL had been investigating reports that the Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl, purposefully sabotaged the balls during the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts in January, a controversy that was dubbed "deflategate".
And last week an independent report revealed Brady was "at least generally aware" that under-inflated balls were used during the clash, won 45-7 by the Patriots.
Now, a statement released by the NFL has announced that Brady will miss four games without pay and the club will be fined one million US dollars as well as losing their first-round draft pick in 2016 and fourth-round pick in 2017.
"The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season," read the statement.
"For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined one million US dollars 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."
The statement added: "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 offseason, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games."
Patriots officials locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski were also indefinitely suspended without pay by the club after the independent report found it was "more probable than not" that they "participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee".
The NFL statement continued: "Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior 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."