The Commissioner has authorized me to inform you of the discipline that, pursuant to his authority under Article 46 of the CBA, has been imposed on you for your role in the use of under-inflated footballs by the Patriots in this year's AFC Championship Game. This activity represents a violation of longstanding playing rules developed to promote fairness in the game.
On May 6, independent investigator Ted Wells issued his report regarding the footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Following an extensive investigation, the report established that the footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL's Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots. The activities of the Patriots' employees were thoroughly documented in the report, including through a series of text messages and telephone communications, as well as evidence of a breach in pre-game protocol. In addition, the conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis, as detailed in the report.
With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots' employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.) despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.
Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our League, and requires an unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public's confidence in the game is called into question.
Accordingly, pursuant to the authority of the Commissioner under Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and your NFL Player Contract, you are suspended without pay for your club's first four games of the 2015 regular season. This suspension will take effect upon the final roster reduction on September 5, 2015; until that time you may participate in all off-season activities, including preseason games.
If you wish to appeal this suspension, you may do so by sending written notice to me within three business days of this letter. If a timely appeal is noticed, a hearing will be scheduled promptly before the Commissioner or his designee at which you may be represented by counsel and present evidence in support of your appeal.
Troy Vincent, Sr.