Robert Kraft apologizes for accepting team Deflategate penalty: ‘I was wrong’
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday addressed the league’s decision to uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. In doing so, Kraft apologized for accepting sanctions against his team back in May.
Kraft said that he was “wrong” numerous times during his short press conference and made it clear that he felt accepting the loss of draft picks and the largest fine against a team in NFL history would persuade Roger Goodell to reduce or overturn Brady’s suspension.
“I want to apologize to the fans,” Kraft said. “Back in May, I chose to make a difficult decision that I now regret. I was wrong to put my faith in the league. I was willing to accept the harshest penalty in the history of NFL, for an alleged ball violation, because I believed it would help Tom.”
If nothing else, you have to give Kraft credit for not hiding behind lawyers. It was obvious that he suddenly reconciled with Goodell two months ago because he was hopeful that the commissioner would exonerate Brady. The question is was Kraft assuming, or did Goodell assure him that it would be taken care of?
Kraft was also upset that the league has a history of reducing suspensions upon appeal but did not budge in this instance, despite a lack of concrete evidence.
“It is routine for discipline in the NFL to be reduced upon appeal,” he said. “In the vast majority of these cases, there is tangible and hard evidence of the infraction for which the the discipline is being imposed, and still the initial penalty gets reduced. Six months removed from the AFC Championship Game, the league still has no hard evidence of anybody doing anything to tamper with the PSI levels of footballs. I continue to believe and unequivocally support Tom Brady.”
Kraft made it clear that he believes everything Brady said in his statement on Wednesday morning. He also questioned the league’s motive in making a headline out of the allegedly destroyed cell phone, which makes sense when you read this argument.
Off to federal court we go.