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Browns face penalties for allegedly texting on sidelines

The Cleveland Browns may lose draft picks in 2015, and not only because they traded for the worst quarterback in the NFL.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Spygate and BountyGate were arguably two of the biggest scandals in recent memory in the NFL.  DeflateGate is causing much controversy, and the ludicrous "FakeCrowdNoiseGate" has began to gain legs out of Atlanta.  Now, the Cleveland Browns must deal with a Nixon-esque situation of their own, as the Browns are accused of allegedly using a high-ranking personnel member to text play call from the press box to the sideline, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Multiple sources alleged GM Ray Farmer was the "high ranking personnel member" implicated in the controversy.  Using phones from the press box in that manner is a violation of the league's electronic use policy by impermissible texting.  If convicted, Farmer could face a multi-game suspension and the Browns organization could lost draft picks.

The "TextGate" scandal is one of three ongoing "integrity of the game" investigations currently in progress by the NFL.  The league is also investigating the Patriots for their role in the deflation of 11 of the 12 game balls used by the team in their AFC Championship victory over the Colts, while the Atlanta Falcons are facing scrutiny for allegedly using fake crowd noise via stadium speakers during several home games in the 2013 and 2014 season.  All three investigations are set to conclude within the next couple weeks.

The latest controversy faced by the Browns is just another in their already growing list of offseason headlines, as QB Johnny Manziel checked himself into rehab last week for "personal issues" while star WR Josh Gordon has officially been suspended for the season by the NFL for a third positive drug test.  With the integrity of the league already being called into question over the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson incidents, the NFL will look to ensure the investigations were thorough and conclusive, while handing down just, appropriate punishments, should they prove wrongdoing in any of the three cases.

With league revenue increasing gradually each season, the NFL will look to protect the integrity of the league as the brand continues to grow.