If you are Bill Belicheat and the New England Patriots it isn’t much. The NFL Commissioner that has no problem suspending players for a year at a time even before they have been convicted of any crimes for some reason believes fining Belicheat a little over 10% of his base 4.2 million a year salary and taking away a 1st round draft pick if the Pats make the playoffs or a 2nd and 3rd if they don’t is punishment enough.
So Belicheat loses some cash but what do the Patriots lose? More than likely they will easily make the playoffs which means the 1st round pick they will lose will probably be 22nd or later (probably later), will that be a devastating loss? Considering they also have the 49er’s 1st round pick from an earlier trade, they will still have a 1st round pick which will quite possibly be much higher than the one they lose.
Now look at what the NFL does when penalizing players who cheat by taking steroids. On the first offense a player is given a 4 game suspension as well as losing the game checks for those games, if my Ohio math is correct that corresponds to 25% of their salary. So what Belicheat did when he had his staff taping the opposition’s signals so that they would have an advantage of knowing the defense is in effect less of an offense than a player taking illegal substances. At least it is if you go by the penalties handed down by the NFL
And finally if you want to get technical, this isn’t the 1st offense for the Patriots as news reports already have them being warned by the Commissioner’s office about this exact tactic. Sounds like cheating isn’t that bad of an offense in the NFL, at least that is if you are a team/coach and not a player, nice message you are sending there Commissioner Goodell isn’t it.