Lisa Olson and the New England Patriots finally found something to agree on: now that the NFL has spoken, let's close the book on her alleged sexual harassment by several players.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Tuesday fined three Patriot players a total of $22,500 and the team $50,000 in the wake of a locker-room incident involving Olson, a Boston Herald reporter.Tagliabue levied the fines, but issued no suspensions after studying special counsel Philip Heymann's 60-page report of the Sept. 17 incident and its aftermath. Zeke Mowatt, who earlier had been fined $2,000 by the team, was fined $12,500, and Michael Timpson and Robert Perryman were fined $5,000 each.
The report, released Tuesday, cited discrepancies between the accounts given by Olson and several players of the events allegedly involving naked players and suggestive remarks.
"I reiterate my strong belief," the commissioner wrote in a letter to Patriots owner Victor Kiam, "that the Patriots' organization and its players have learned a hard lesson from this episode and that everyone involved will best be served if this controversy now comes to an end without further recrimination."
In a prepared statement she read at a news conference, Olson, who now covers the Boston Celtics, said, "it is time to move on. Perhaps the greatest lesson of sport is perseverance."
Kiam also issued a prepared statement, saying, "The decision has been rendered. Now it's time to get on with playing football."
There was no comment Tuesday from Mowatt, a tight end, Timpson, a wide receiver who has been on injured reserve all season, or Perryman, a fullback now with the Dallas Cowboys after being cut by New England on Nov. 5.
In the report, Timpson and Perryman denied their involvement.
Linebacker Andre Tippett said "it's been hard for a lot of the guys to concentrate" since the controversy erupted. "We can just forget about the whole thing now."
The Patriots are 1-10 overall and 0-9 since the incident.
Although the penalties are subject to appeal, Kiam said, "the Patriots will certainly abide by (Tagliabue's) judgments."
The Patriots were fined $25,000 because they "never vigorously sought the facts about what had happened," Tagliabue wrote in his letter to Kiam.