Despite $1M fine, Patriots reap profit from Brady suspension
The Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A four-game suspension.
A $1 million fine.
The loss of first- and fourth-round draft picks.
The numbers were flying after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were hit with a trio of penalties for tampering with the footballs in the AFC championship game.
Here are some other figures to follow in the scandal that has been dubbed “Deflategate”:
That’s how much the Patriots will save — that’s right, save — as a result of the punishment handed down by the NFL on Monday. Sure, owner Robert Kraft will have to pay a $1 million fine. But the team would also save four of Brady’s game checks, which are $470,588.23 for each week of the 17-week season — about $1.88 million.
Even better: The Patriots get a salary cap credit for the money they don’t have to pay Brady, according to the players’ union. Some of that will have to go to the player who replaces the three-time Super Bowl MVP on the roster. But the team could spend the rest of it elsewhere, perhaps on a cornerback to bolster its secondary for the entire season.
Player fines go to charity, but the $1 million from the Patriots will go into the NFL coffers to be distributed on a case-by-case basis. Look for it to pay for part of the probe, which lead investigator Ted Wells said on Tuesday cost “in the millions of dollars.”
THREE DAYS TO APPEAL
Brady has until Thursday at 5 p.m. EST to appeal the suspension, and agent Don Yee leaves no doubt that he will. The league would then have 10 days to set a hearing. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the appeal would be heard by Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone designated by him.
“If the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic,” Yee said.
The team also has a right to appeal, and that would also be heard by the commissioner or someone he chooses.
If Brady’s suspension holds, he will miss the league’s showcase opener on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and won’t play in front of the hometown crowd until Oct. 25, when the Patriots host the New York Jets. A group of fans is hoping the team will refrain from unveiling the Super Bowl championship banner until he is there to see it.
The hashtag NoBradyNoBanner generated more than 15,000 tweets in the day after the suspension was handed down, according to social analytics website Topsy.com.
Elsewhere on social media: The Patriots changed their Twitter avatar to a shot of Brady’s jersey. Four men wearing Patriots jerseys were arrested during a sit-in at the NFL offices promoted by the Boston website Barstool Sports. And a GoFundMe account to pay the $1 million fine levied against Kraft, a billionaire, raised more than $8,000 from almost 600 people in its first 24 hours.
One man donated $5 and added the message:
“There was a huge Earthquake in Tibet today. Maybe your donations should go there?” wrote the donor who identified himself as “Y U Stu Pidpeople.” “Worth 5 bucks to tell you that.”
NO. 12 to NO. 3
Since the suspension was announced, sales of Brady’s jersey have doubled, according to online retailer Fanatics.com. He is the third most popular jersey on the site (up from sixth) since the Wells Report was released, behind only the top two picks in the NFL draft, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. The Patriots have spiked from fourth to second, behind the Dallas Cowboys.
And the jersey fever isn’t just in New England: Sales have been registered in 22 states, Fanatics president of merchandising Jack Boyle said.
“Fans are rallying behind Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, to show their support,” he said.
The over-under on how many games the Patriots will win this season dropped from 10.5 to 10 after Brady’s suspension was announced, according to Kevin Bradley, sports book manager at Bovada.lv. The team is still the second favorite behind the Colts in the AFC, and New England’s odds of winning the Super Bowl fell from 7/1 to 10/1.
One reason for the minimal movement is because an appeal is still pending. Bettors might also remember that the Patriots went 11-5 in 2008 — but missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker — when Brady was injured in the first quarter of the opening game and missed the rest of the season.
Or perhaps they remember that the Patriots went 16-0 in 2007, when coach Bill Belichick and his crew responded to their punishments in the videotaping scandal by steamrolling their way to the Super Bowl. (They lost to the New York Giants, spoiling their chance at a perfect season.)
“We are not over-adjusting too much on the Patriots odds,” Bradley said. “Despite all the hype, it did not affect our odds as much as one would have expected.”
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