FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots were stripped of two organized team activities because of coaches’ scheduling that resulted in players spending more than their allowed time at the team facility, according to league sources.
As part of its ruling, the NFL noted the “candor and full cooperation” of the Patriots, referring to it as “noteworthy and commendable.” Nevertheless, the NFL still fined coach Bill Belichick $50,000, according to league sources, in addition to taking away the two organized team activities.
The NFL Players Association had filed a formal complaint against the Patriots on May 4, alleging a violation of Article 21, Section 5(b) of the collective bargaining agreement that players can be at the team facility no more than four hours per day during the second phase of the voluntary offseason program.
The complaint was specific to meetings/workshops that weren’t on the official schedule of the four-hour workday sent to players for May 1, May 2 and May 4.
The Patriots told the NFL that the meetings/workshops weren’t mandatory and no attendance was taken.
But the league ultimately ruled that all activity must begin and end within the constraints of the collectively bargained four-hour period.
The Patriots had been scheduled for an OTA on Thursday, the first to be attended by reporters this offseason, but the club announced Wednesday that it had been canceled.
Thursday’s OTA, in addition to another next Tuesday, were taken away as part of the violation.
This week marks the start of the third and final phase of the Patriots’ offseason program, which allows the team a total of 10 OTAs.
The NFL Players Association monitors teams across 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) have been penalized for violations of offseason rules.