NEW YORK — Two New England Patriots players and a former teammate were fined a total of $22,500 and the team was fined $25,000 today by the National Football League for involvement in the alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter.
Zeke Mowatt was given a $12,500 fine, while Michael Timpson and Robert Perryman were each fined $5,000. In addition to the team fine, the Patriots were ordered to pay $25,000 for instructional materials on responsible dealings with the media.
No suspensions were given in the incident, which involved Lisa Olson of the Boston Herald.
The fines, levied by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, came after special counsel Phillip Heymann of the Harvard Law School submitted a 60-page report on the incident. Tagliabue concluded that "a serious incident occurred on Sept. 17 while Lisa Olson of the Boston Herald was interviewing cornerback Maurice Hurst in the Patriots' locker room. The incident involved misconduct of certain Patriots' players that was degrading to Ms. Olson."
Mowatt and Timpson are still with the Patriots, but Perryman was released on Nov. 6 and now plays for the Dallas Cowboys.
Tagliabue also concluded, based on Heymann's report, that the team's management failed to comply with NFL policy on equal media access "in that the club did not adequately supervise its players, did not adequately investigate and resolve a serious incident of misconduct in the club's locker room and appeared to condone the misconduct of the Patriots' players."
Olson alleged that during the locker room incident, a player approached, stood at her side, naked, and "said in a low voice, 'Here's what you want.' "
"She did not see who the person was, and we cannot conclusively identify the person," the report said. "Other players were laughing and some shouted, 'Make her look, make her look!' "
The report said Timpson was one of those shouting encouragement.
"Moments later," the report continued, "Olson saw Mowatt on the scale (by Hurst's locker, where she had been positioned). According to a number of players, he turned toward her and said, 'You're not writing, you're looking.'
"He smiled and purposely displayed himself to her in a suggestive way. Laughter erupted and shouts from the players continued, especially, 'Is she looking?' "
James Oldham, Patriots director of media relations, quickly moved toward the scene while Olson, "embarrassed by Mowatt's actions, quickly lowered her head and continued her interview."
Several more players separately walked nude past Olson on their way to the shower. "We believe Olson's account that two or three players whom we cannot identify paused and 'modeled' themselves briefly by her in some fashion," Heymann reported.
"Finally, according to Olson, she felt she could not take any more and abruptly ended her meeting with Hurst." Oldham described her as "very distraught" as she left the scene.