The Falcons are reportedly set to be punished for pumping in artificial crowd noise to the Georgia Dome during home games.
The National Football League suspended Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay from the league’s competition committee and stripped a 2016 fifth-round draft pick from the team for using pre-recorded crowd noise at home games, the league announced Monday.
The team was also fined $350,000.
McKay's suspension is effective April 1. He is the chairman of the NFL Competition Committee, which is in charge of overseeing the league’s rules.
Atlanta also fired Roddy Whitte, the team's director of event marketing. White will be suspended the first eight weeks of the season if he gains further employment within the league.
The league had been investigating the claim since November that the Falcons have been using the tactic over the past two seasons while their opponents are huddling or trying to call a play.
“What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business. Anytime 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," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement.
The Falcons lost three of their seven games at the Georgia Dome this season and were blown out by the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 17 with a playoff berth on the line. They only won three of their eight home games in 2013 on their way to a 4-12 record.
- Scooby Axson