Robert Kraft Spits Fire At NFL As Bill Belichick Says Nothing About Brady’s Suspension
On the heels of Tom Brady's lawyered up Facebook post this morning, whereby he claimed not only his own innocence, but the innocence of everyone in the Patriots organization, it's reasonable that we hear from other members of the Patriots organization. Not the equipment managers at the center of the investigation, of course, but owner Robert Kraft (who had a prepared statement) and head coach Bill Belichick (who answered every question with "we're going to continue to get the team ready for the 2015 season"). Not surprisingly, with the Deflategate saga headed to the courts after the NFL upheld its four-game suspension for Tom Brady, the tone of their press conference was very litigious.
In a careful fashion, Robert Kraft absolutely roasted the NFL "league office" for their handling of the entire investigation.
"I was wrong to put my faith in the league," Kraft said. "Given the facts, evidence, and laws of science that underscore this entire situation, it is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players and a man for whom I have the utmost respect."
Kraft directly accused Roger Goodell of trying to shape an unfair narrative about Tom Brady's role in the underinflation of footballs prior to the 2014 AFC Championship Game, when 11 of 12 game balls were found to have been significantly lower air pressure than the league allows. Kraft cited Tuesday's Deflategate news as an example of how the NFL is going about their witch hunt.
"Yesterday's decision by commissioner Goodell was released in a similar manner under an erroneous headline that read 'Tom Brady destroys his cell phone,'" he said. "This headline was designed to capture headlines across the country and obscure evidence regarding the tampering of air pressure in footballs. it intentionally implied nefarious behavior and minimized the acknowledgment that tom provided the history of every number he texted during that relevant timeframe."
The full transcript and video, below.
i felt it was important to make a statement today, prior to the start of training camp. after this, i will not be talking about this matter until after the legal process plays it out -- plays itself out, and i would advise everyone in the organization to do the same and just concentrate on preparation for the 2015 season.
the decision handed down by the league yesterday is unfathomable to me. it is routine for discipline in the nfl to be reduced upon appeal. in the vast majority of these cases, there is tangible and hard evidence of the infraction for which the discipline is being imposed. and still the initial penalty gets reduced. six months removed from the a.f.c. championship game and the league still has no hard evidence of anybody doing anything to tamper with the p.s.i. levels of footballs. i continue to believe and unequivocally support tom brady. i, first and foremost, need to apologize to our fans because i truly believe what i did in may, given the actual evidence of the situation, and the league's history on discipline matters, would make it much easier for the league to exonerate tom brady. unfortunately, i was wrong.
the league's handling of this entire process has been extremely frustrating and disconcerting. i will never understand why an initial erroneous report regarding the p.s.i. level of footballs was leaked by a source from the nfl a few days after the a.f.c. championship game, was never corrected by those who had the correct information. for four months, that report cast aspersions and shaped public opinion. yesterday's decision by commissioner goodell was released in a similar manner under an erroneous headline that read "tom brady destroys his cell phone." this headline was designed to capture headlines across the country and obscure evidence regarding the tampering of air pressure in footballs. it intentionally implied nefarious behavior and minimized the acknowledgment that tom provided the history of every number he texted during that relevant timeframe. and we had already provided the league with every cell phone of every nfl -- non-nflpa employee that they requested, including head coach bill belichick.
tom brady is a person of great integrity and is a great ambassador of the game, both on and off the field. yet for reasons that i cannot comprehend, there are those in the league office who are more determined to prove that they were right rather than admit any culpability of their own or take any responsibility for the initiation of a process and ensuing investigation that was flawed. i've come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just.
back in may, i had to make a difficult decision that i now regret. i tried to do what i thought was right. i chose not to take legal action. i wanted to return the focus to football. i have been negotiating agreements on a global basis my entire life. i know there are times when you have to give up important points of principle to achieve a greater good. i acted in good faith and was optimistic that by taking the actions i took, the league would have what they wanted. i was willing to accept the harshest penalty in the history of the nfl for an alleged ball violation because i believed it would help exonerate tom. i have often said if you want to get a deal done, sometimes you have to get the lawyers out of the room. i had hopes that tom brady's appeal to the league would provide roger goodell the necessary explanation to overturn his suspension. now, the league has taken the matter to court, which is a tactic that only a lawyer would recommend.
once again i want to apologize to the fans of the new england patriots and tom brady. i was wrong to put my faith in the league. given the facts, evidence, and laws of science that underscore this entire situation, it is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players and a man for whom i have the utmost respect. onally, this is very sad and disappointing to me. now, i know the real reason you came here was to hear coach belichick, so i'll turn the podium over to him.
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