The NFL announced Monday that the Falcons will lose a 2016 fifth-round pick and receive a $350,000 fine for their piping crowd noise into home games.
Even though Falcons president Rich McKay wasn’t aware of fake crowd noise, he’ll be suspended for three months given that he is a member of the NFL’s competition committee.
According to the NFL, Atlanta’s former director of event marketing — surprisingly named Roddy White — was responsible for the crowd noise violation.
Here’s the NFL’s statement regarding the matter:
The Atlanta Falcons have acknowledged the use of pre-recorded crowd noise in violation of NFL rules during home games throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season until the club was notified last November that the violation had been identified. The rule states that “at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium.” Based on the full record, the Falcons have been fined $350,000 and will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 Draft. If the Falcons have multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be forfeited.
Our review concluded that Roddy White, the team’s former director of event marketing, was directly responsible for the violation. Mr. White would have been suspended without pay for the first eight weeks of the 2015 regular season had he still been with the club. If Mr. White obtains employment with another NFL team during the 2015 season, he may be required to serve some or all of this suspension.
Our review also determined that Falcons ownership and senior executives, including team President Rich McKay, were unaware of Mr. White’s use of an audio file with artificial crowd noise. However, Mr. McKay, as the senior club executive overseeing game operations, bears some responsibility for ensuring that team employees comply with league rules. As a result, Mr. McKay will be suspended from the Competition Committee beginning April 1. He may petition Commissioner Goodell for reinstatement to the committee no sooner than June 30.
We appreciate the courtesy and cooperation the Falcons organization extended during our inquiry.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the NFL is expected to suspend Falcons president Rich McKay from the competition committee and take draft pick away from Atlanta for piping crowd noise into home games.
- According to Schefter, the Falcons could also receive a “hefty fine” for their actions.
Schefter reported last week that the discipline for the Falcons’ actions was expected to be “severe.”
The Falcons have already admitted to piping in artificial crowd noise during the 2013 and 2014 seasons while the opposing teams were huddling.
”It’s not really a fine line,” owner Arthur Blank told The Associated Press. ‘‘I think what we’ve done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong. Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we’re opposed to, as a league, as a club and as an owner. It’s obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn’t represent our culture and what we’re about.”
We’ll have more updates as the news is available.