As we await word on possible discipline for Tom Brady and/or the Patriots in the ball deflation case, we can look back at a similar disciplinary situation from October of 2012 involving the San Diego Chargers.
In that instance, the Chargers were found to have been using a towel covered with an adhesive substance that aids in gripping the ball.
The league looked into the matter further. Without the aid of a $5M investigation and a corporate law firm, they league cleared the Chargers of violating a “a competitive rule.”
The league statement went on to say, "However, NFL game officials are charged with protecting the integrity and competitive fairness of the games and club staff members, like players and coaches, have a clear obligation to cooperate in this effort and comply with the direction of game officials. As a result of the failure of club staff to follow the directive of a game official to immediately surrender the towels when directed to do so, and to attempt to conceal the towels, the Chargers have been fined $20,000.
"In order to ensure that products that may have a possible competitive effect are given appropriate review and testing, our office -- after consultation with the Competition Committee -- has advised all clubs that the use of towels or other products that contain any type of adhesive substance is now prohibited on game days until further notice."
So they didn’t cough up towels when told to do so. They tried to hide them. The towels had sticky crap on them which – if they were being hidden – makes it more probable than not that an advantage was being gained that the Chargers wanted concealed. And the NFL’s Competition Committee laid down a new rile. No sticky towels.
No suspension. No specific discipline to any coach, GM or player. No demand for cell phones and emails. Just, “Don’t do it anymore. And, “Hey, give us $20K for being dinks about the towels when we asked for them.”
Simpler times, Danny. Simpler times.