Mike ReissESPN staff writerRead for 2 minutes
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots were stripped of two organized team activities due to coaches’ scheduling that resulted in players spending more than their allotted time in the team facility, according to league sources.
As part of its ruling, the NFL noted the Patriots’ “candor and full cooperation”, calling it “remarkable and commendable”. Nevertheless, NFL coach Bill Belichick still fined $50,000, according to league sources, in addition to taking away the two organized team activities.
The NFL Players Association filed a formal complaint against the Patriots on May 4, alleging violation of Article 21, Section 5(b) of the collective bargaining agreement that players may not be in the team’s facility more than four hours per day during the second phase of the off-season voluntary program.
The complaint was specific to meetings/workshops that were not on the official 4-hour workday schedule sent to players for May 1, May 2, and May 4.
The Patriots told the NFL that the meetings/workshops were non-mandatory and there were no attendees.
But the league ultimately ruled that all activities must begin and end within the constraints of the collectively agreed four-hour period.
The Patriots were scheduled for an OTA on Thursday, the first offseason attended by reporters, but the club announced Wednesday that it had been cancelled.
Thursday’s OTA, in addition to another one coming Tuesday, was taken away as part of the violation.
This week marks the start of the third and final phase of the Patriots’ offseason schedule, which allows the team a total of 10 OTAs.
The NFL Players Association monitors teams in the NFL for potential violations as part of its standard operating procedure.
The Patriots declined to comment.
In recent seasons, the Cowboys (2021, 2022), Bears (2022), Commanders (2022), Texans (2022), 49ers (2021), Jaguars (2021), Ravens (2018) and Seahawks (2016) were penalized for infractions of off-season rules.