(NEW YORK) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the upcoming 2015 National Football League season for his role in the Deflategate scandal, the league announced Monday.
Brady was at the center of the controversy after the Indianapolis Colts, Brady’s opponents in the AFC Championship Game this past January, complained that the Patriots-supplied game balls seemed to be underinflated. Last week, a 243-page report, overseen by attorney Ted Wells, found that it was “more probable than not that Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of [Patriots employees Jim] McNally and [John] Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”
Brady previously denied any wrongdoing, saying that he believed he had always played within the confines of the rules.
Brady will miss the first four games of the upcoming season without pay — returning in time for the Patriots’ rematch with the Colts on October 18.
The league additionally fined the Patriots organization $1 million and forced them to forfeit a pair of future draft picks.
Team owner Robert Kraft posted a statement to the Patriots’ Facebook page on Monday evening, saying that “despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league. Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation.”
Calling the punishment “based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence,” Kraft blasted the entire investigation, calling it “one-sided.”
“Tom Brady has our unconditional support,” Kraft concluded, “our belief in him has not wavered.”
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