The NFL fined the Atlanta Falcons, stripped the organization of a draft pick and suspended team President Rich McKay from the league's Competition Committee beginning April 1 following the team's use of fake noise at home games.
In statement released Monday, the league said the Falcons have been fined $350,000 and will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 draft. If the Falcons have multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be forfeited.
The NFL noted that throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season 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. The Falcons fired him.
The league determined that Falcons ownership and senior executives, including McKay, were unaware of the use of an audio file with artificial crowd noise. But as the senior club executive overseeing game operations, McKay bears some responsibility for ensuring team employees comply with league rules. McKay can petition Commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement to the committee no sooner than June 30.
Browns GM Farmer suspended for texts
The NFL suspended Browns General Manager Ray Farmer for four games for sending text messages to the sideline last season during games.
Farmer has acknowledged sending the messages, which is prohibited under league rules.
The league's punishment handed down on Monday includes a $250,000 fine on the Browns. But the league spared stripping the team of any draft picks.
NFL executive Troy Vincent says there's no evidence that Browns ownership or other team executives knew about the texts. He says the team changed its procedures to prevent future violations.
Broncos' Thomas awaits long-term deal
Demaryius Thomas says he'll skip the Denver Broncos' offseason workouts until he signs a long-term contract.
The star receiver also said he'll bypass Peyton Manning's annual passing camp next week at Duke, where the five-time MVP QB works on his timing with his wide receivers.
Speaking by phone Monday from an Xbox "Call of Duty" event in Los Angeles to benefit military veterans, Thomas said if a long-term deal isn't reached, he'd sign the Broncos' $12.823 million franchise tender by the July 15 deadline.