Robert Kraft wants apology from NFL if no wrongdoing found
Robert Kraft usually sits up in the owner’s box and enjoys watching his team win football games, leaving the coaching, playing and media responsibilities to his employees. But, on Monday, Kraft decided to face the media straight on to defend his franchise against the “deflategate” controversy.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to Coach Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they’ve had to endure this week,” Kraft said in a prepared statement from which he read. “I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”
Kraft could have very easily let Bill Belichick and Brady handle the defense for this just like they did on Friday and Saturday, but he decided to double-down on his men by standing behind them.
“I want to make it clear, I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or are in violation of NFL rules,” Kraft said. “Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys. They are part of my family. Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years. I’ve never known them to lie to me. That’s why I’m confident in saying what I just said.
“It bothers me greatly their reputations and integrity – and by association that of our team – has been called into question this week.”
Patriots fans will love his defense because it gives them even more reason to have faith in their team. Doubters like myself will point out that throughout sports history, guys like Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong have taught us that the more aggressive the denial, the more guilty the party in question.
The bottom line here is that most of the public has made up their mind about whether or not the Patriots cheated. How severe of a violation is it? How does it rank compared to some of the other cheating throughout the league? Those are other questions to debate. But short of the NFL finding a video of someone wearing Patriots gear walking into the officials’ locker room with a pump in hand deflating footballs, the league won’t have sufficient evidence to punish the team. That’s probably one of the big reasons why Kraft feels safe defending his team. That and because he has to protect the Brady/Belichick/Kraft legacy which has produced an incredible three Super Bowl wins and six Super Bowl trips.