Atlanta Falcons fined for using fake crowd noise, lose 2016 draft pick

Atlanta Falcons forfeit a 2016 draft pick and are fined $350,000 for using fake crowd noise during games

The Atlanta Falcons forfeited a fifth-round 2016 draft pick and were fined $350,000 by the NFL on Monday for using artificial crowd noise during games at the Georgia Dome over the past two seasons.

In addition, the league suspended Falcons president Rich McKay from the NFL's competition committee. The NFL found McKay was unaware of the use of recorded crowd noise, but issued the suspension because he oversaw the department responsible for using it. He can apply for reinstatement on June 30. McKay served as the competition committee's chairman.

The league found that Roddy White, the Falcons' former director of event marketing, was responsible for the violation. Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the team would not appeal the NFL's decisions.

"What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," Blank said in a statement. "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."

The NFL started investigating in November whether the Falcons' game operations department was using fake crowd noise during home games in 2013 and 2014. Blank admitted to the Associated Press in February that the team used fake crowd noise.

"It's not really a fine line," Blank said last month. "I think what we've done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong. Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we're opposed to, as a league, as a club and as an owner. It's obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn't represent our culture and what we're about."

The Falcons had been accused of using the noise during opponent team huddles. Atlanta went 6-9 at home over the last two seasons.

NFL rules state that teams cannot transmit audio in stadium sound systems once 20 seconds have passed on the play clock. Video boards can be used at any time before a play.

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