The National Football League suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four regular-season games without pay "for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL," the league announced Monday afternoon.
It also said that the team—which won the Super Bowl earlier this year—would be fined $1 million and forced to forfeit its first-round pick in the 2016 draft and its fourth-round selection in the 2017 draft.
The Patriots were accused following the AFC championship game in January of intentionally deflating footballs (which many players find easier to throw and catch). In explaining Monday's discipline announcement, the NFL said the team was penalized for "the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation."
Brady's attorney, Don Yee, said his client will appeal the move.
"The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis," Yee said, in a statement. "The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me."
The Monday release said that Patriots owner Robert Kraft told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that two team employees had been indefinitely suspended without pay. The league said neither man could be reinstated without permission.
In a letter to the Patriots, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wrote that an investigation had found "the footballs used by the Patriots were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL's Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots."
Vincent said in his letter that the Patriots' employees' actions were documented in text messages and telephone communications.