Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Falcons Fined, Lose Draft Pick for Pumping in Fake Noise

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Falcons Fined, Lose Draft Pick for Pumping in Fake Noise

Article excerpt

ATLANTA | In the midst of two losing seasons, the Atlanta Falcons tried to pump up the noise.

It's going to cost them.

The NFL announced Monday that it had fined the team $350,000, stripped away a draft pick and suspended team president Rich McKay from the league's powerful Competition Committee for at least three months after the Falcons conceded pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome.

For owner Arthur Blank, the whole episode has been a huge embarrassment on top of firing long-time coach Mike Smith after last season and dealing with criticism over a pricey seat-licensing plan to help fund the team's new stadium.

"What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," 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."

Throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season, according to the NFL, the Falcons violated league rules that state "at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium."

The league also said Roddy White, the team's former director of event marketing, was directly responsible for the violation and would have been suspended without pay for the first eight weeks of the 2015 regular season had he still been with the club. White, who coincidentally has the same name as one of the team's top receivers, was fired by the Falcons after the issue came to light.

Atlanta must forfeit its fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft. If the team has multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be taken away.

"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," said Troy Vincent, the NFL's vice president of football operations. "However, Mr. …

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