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NFL Punishes Atlanta Falcons over ‘Noisegate’

The team has been fined $350, 000 and will be forced to forfeit their fifth round selection in the 2016 draft.

Arthur Blank

Arthur Blank‘s Atlanta Falcons have been punished by the NFL for using fake noise during their home games. The team has been fined $350, 000 and will be forced to forfeit their fifth round selection in the 2016 draft.

The team’s senior executive Adam McKay has also been personally punished and will be suspended from the league’s Competition Committee.

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Roddy White, the team’s former director of event marketing, would also have been suspended for the first 8 weeks of the 2015 season had he not already been fired by the Falcons. White was personally responsible for adding the extra noise.

In what has been dubbed “Noisegate, ” the Falcons admitted to “enhancing” their home crowd’s cheers with pre-recorded sound effects during their home games at downtown Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

“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, ” the NFL said in a statement.

“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 (Roger) Goodell for reinstatement to the committee no sooner than June 30.”

The Atlanta Falcons took full responsibility for the team’s actions and formally apologized. Owner Blank said in a statement that the use of the artificial noise was not in keeping with the standards by which the team runs its business and that it was wrong and promised to deal “swiftly and strongly” any time such actions may occur in the future.

“The League conducted a thorough investigation of this matter, and we cooperated fully. We understand the penalties imposed and their impact on our team, and we will not appeal the league’s decisions. Further, we have addressed the matter internally and taken actions to ensure that something like this does not happen again, ” read the statement.

“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making. This issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans, and our Falcons players and associates.”



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