Flowery Branch, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Falcons were fined $350,000 and will have to forfeit a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft for using artificial crowd noise during home games for the last two seasons.
An NFL review determined a team executive pumped in the crowd noise throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 campaign before the team was notified of the situation last November.
"What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," said Falcons owner Arthur Blank in a statement Monday. "Any time 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.
"We understand the penalties imposed and their impact on our team, and we will not appeal the league's decisions. Further, we have addressed the matter internally and taken actions to ensure that something like this does not happen again."
The league concluded that Roddy White, the team's former director of event marketing, was directly responsible for the violation and that no other Falcons executive had knowledge. White, who is no longer with the team, would have been subjected to an eight-game suspension and could still face league discipline if he obtains another job in the NFL.
Falcons president Rich McKay, despite not being directly involved, was suspended from the NFL's Competition Committee for at least three months. He can petition NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement to the committee no sooner than June 30.