Ray Farmer's cooperation with NFL mitigated his punishment

Ray Farmer's suspension could have been longer.

That's an interesting fact buried in Roger Goodell's decision to uphold the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. A single footnote sheds a little light on the decision to suspend the Cleveland Browns general manager for four games.

Brady was suspended four games in the deflated football controversy that followed the AFC Championship Game, won by New England 45-7. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

Farmer was suspended four games and the Browns were fined $250,000 because Farmer texted other team officials during games, a violation of the league's electronic device policy.

However, Farmer's suspension would have been longer and the fine larger if he hadn't cooperated with the NFL's investigation.

In a footnote on page 16 of the Brady decision, Goodell discusses Farmer's cooperation as it relates to Brady destroying his cellphone (something Brady says he always does to ensure his privacy). Goodell writes of Farmer:

"The length of that suspension reflected, and was explicitly mitigated by, the General Manager's [Farmer's] self-reporting and transparency acknowledging wrongdoing."

Clearly, Farmer cooperated and admitted wrongdoing. And just as clearly, his suspension would have been longer if he hadn't.

When the suspension was announced, Farmer released a statement that read:

"I respect the league's decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions. Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation."