Eli Manning was speaking at a charity event for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in White Plains when news of Tom Brady's suspension and the New England Patriots' discipline for the use of under-inflated footballs broke late Monday afternoon.
The two franchise quarterbacks, who are scheduled to play each other Week 10 at MetLife Stadium, will forever have their histories tied together because of their meetings on the field. But just like everyone else, Manning was following the story stemming from the AFC Championship Game this past season.
So Manning had some thoughts about the punishment, which he was asked about shortly after the news came out.
"I kind of know what you know and seen some of the reports, what's been written in the paper, and obviously it didn't look good," Manning said, according to the New York Post. "I figured something like this may happen.
"Tom has been a friend of mine. I don't like to see anyone get suspended. I don't like to see anybody get in trouble. I don't like to see anything happen to the NFL or to a player or to another quarterback. In no way am I glad to see this happen.
"Obviously the football, I think it is about integrity and you have to follow the rules. If someone's breaking the rules I understand you're gonna get punished for it."
Manning added: "Any time you lose a starting quarterback for four games and draft picks that's a pretty big statement. Obviously the NFL is serious about not messing with the integrity of the game, no matter big or little the issue is."
Manning claimed both of his Super Bowl MVP awards against Brady and the Patriots, who pulled even with the Giants organization this past February with their fourth Lombardi Trophy. Brady claimed his third Super Bowl MVP in the thrilling win over the Seattle Seahawks, raising questions about his legacy.
"I don't know, I haven't thought much about it," Manning responded, according to the New York Post. "I think Tom is still one of the best in the business and coming off a great year and championships. He's won a lot, so I don't think he's worried about legacy right now. I'm sure he'll get ready to get back to playing and playing good football."
Below is the NFL statement on discipline imposed on the New England Patriots for violating the NFL policy on integrity of game:
The New England Patriots were notified [Monday] of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:
- For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club's first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club's fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.
- Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.
- Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all offseason, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.
- Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner's disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.
"We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others," Commissioner Goodell said. "We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report."
Photos of the Giants 2015 official roster