The NFL have finally finished it’s investigation into Ray Farmer and Textgate and handed down the punishment yesterday. NFL VP of Operations Troy Vincent announced the penalties yesterday along with the Falcon’s punishment for pumping fake noise into the Georgia dome. Here is the main part of Vincent’s statement regarding Textgate.
“The use of a cell phone on multiple occasions during games in 2014 by Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer was a violation of NFL rules that prohibit certain uses of electronic devices during games,” Vincent said. “Based on these violations, the Browns have been fined $250,000 and Ray Farmer will be suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games of the 2015 season. The suspension will start on midnight of the Sunday preceding the Browns’ first regular-season game and will end immediately after the Browns’ fourth regular-season game. During the period of the suspension, Farmer cannot be involved in any club matters and is prohibited from being at the Browns’ offices, practice facility, or at Browns games.”
While having Farmer suspended at all is disappointing and reflects badly on the Browns and their front office, it really isn’t that harsh of a penalty. By the first game the rosters will have been finalized and beyond looking for bargains on the waiver wire and exploring possible trades, there isn’t a whole lot Farmer will miss. Even when he does return the trade deadline won’t have passed. Had the Browns been fined a draft pick it could have been a lot worse with how important this draft could be for the Browns with them looking to build on last year’s 7-9 record and make a push to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
As for the $250,000 fine it really is on peanuts to owner Jimmy Haslam when you consider that he bought the Browns for $1.05 billion or that he had no problem being able to pay a $76 million tax settlement last year. The NFL also cleared Haslam or any other front office figure from responsibility in Textgate, showing it was clearly that it was Farmer acting on his own.