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Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Updated: October 9, 4:15 PM ET
Raiders asked to provide evidence of tampering

ESPN.com news services

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis received a letter from the NFL this week saying, in essence, that if he has evidence the New England Patriots tampered with his team prior to a 2007 trade involving Randy Moss, he should present it.

The letter was confirmed by ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

An NFL source firmly denied to ESPN that the Raiders were threatened with sanctions in the letter. Tuesday, a report by the National Football Post said the NFL sent a formal letter telling the Raiders they were subject to penalties for the public accusation of tampering.

There is an NFL policy that does say that teams can be subject to sanctions for issuing false allegations in public.

The punishment for violating the policy could range from a substantial fine -- $250,000 or more -- to docking the Raiders one or more draft picks, or both, NFL sources told ESPN.

Davis said the Patriots had tampered with Randy Moss before a deal in April 2007 that brought the wide receiver to New England for a fourth-round choice the weekend of the NFL draft. Patriots coach Bill Belichick denied the claim by Davis that New England had a workout with Moss before obtaining him in the trade.

In a June 5, 2008, memo distributed by Goodell to NFL clubs entitled "Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules," the commissioner informed NFL team officials that competitive rules violations must be made in a timely manner. Davis' accusations against the Patriots came 18 months after the transaction occurred.

The memo also warns team owners and officials that making false claims leaves them open to NFL-imposed sanctions.

Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen is included in this report.

Editor's note: In an Oct. 9 story on ESPN television and ESPN.com, information that indicated ESPN had confirmed facts regarding possible sanctions in a letter from the NFL to the Oakland Raiders was incorrectly characterized due to an editing error. The report should have indicated that ESPN confirmed the existence of a letter asking the Raiders to provide evidence of tampering.