Browns GM suspended for texting, team fined $250,000

Browns GM suspended for texting, team fined $250,000
Browns GM expected to be suspended for texting. (Source: WOIO)
Browns GM expected to be suspended for texting. (Source: WOIO)

Browns general manager Ray Farmer will be suspended for texting personnel on the sidelines during several games last season, but the team is not expected to lose a draft pick this year.

Farmer has admitted to violating the league's electronic device policy by texting.

In addition to Farmer's suspension, the team was fined $250,000. The league's discipline was handed down late Monday morning.

Statement by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent:

The use of a cell phone on multiple occasions during games in 2014 by Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer was a violation of NFL rules that prohibit certain uses of electronic devices during games. Based on these violations, the Browns have been fined $250,000 and Ray Farmer will be suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games of the 2015 season. The suspension will start on midnight of the Sunday preceding the Browns' first regular-season game and will end immediately after the Browns' fourth regular-season game. During the period of the suspension, Farmer cannot be involved in any club matters and is prohibited from being at the Browns' offices, practice facility, or at Browns games.

There was no evidence in the NFL's review that Browns ownership or any other team executives had knowledge of the prohibited conduct. Once the violation was discovered, Browns management implemented new processes to ensure future compliance. We appreciate the courtesy and cooperation the Browns organization extended during our inquiry.

Upon hearing of the punishment, the Cleveland Browns released the following responses.

Statement by Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam:

We accept the league's ruling. Ray made a mistake and takes full responsibility for his role in violating the policy. It is critical that we make better decisions. Ray has tremendous integrity and I know has great remorse for what occurred. We are all committed to learning from this and making the Browns a stronger and better organization.

Statement by Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer:

I respect the league's decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions. Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.

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