The National Football League fined the Atlanta Falcons $350,000 and a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft due to violating league rules and piping noise into the Georgia Dome during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
"What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly."
Blank also apologized for the incident and said the team understands the penalty and will not appeal the league’s penalty, reports ESPN.
"The League conducted a thorough investigation of this matter, and we cooperated fully," Blank said. "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.
"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."
During the investigation, the NFL came to the conclusion that Roddy White — the team's marketing director, not the wide receiver — was responsible for the violation.
If the Falcons apparently piped noise into their home stadium to cause communication trouble for the visiting teams, it didn’t work very well. The Falcons were 3-4 at home last year and 3-5 in 2013.
This is the 16th time the NFL has taken away a draft pick since 1980 and the first since the New Orleans Saints lost picks in 2012 and 2013 due to the bounty scandal.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons