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#pounditTuesday, May 28, 2024

Robert Kraft: NFL leaked false info on PSI, never corrected it

Roger Goodell

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft unloaded on the NFL on Wednesday in the wake of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld. One of Kraft’s main sticking points was that the NFL has planted false information and never bothered to correct it.

When the Deflategate scandal first erupted back in January, a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen indicated that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots during the AFC Championship Game were underinflated by two pounds. Ted Wells, who was hired by the NFL, later determined that only one ball was two pounds under, and that was after accounting for the Ideal Gas Law. That’s all explained in detail here.

In short, Mortensen’s report was inaccurate. Most people, including Kraft, believe it was leaked by the NFL.

“I will never understand why an initial erroneous report regarding the PSI level of footballs was leaked by a source from the NFL a few days after the AFC championship game, [and] was never corrected by those who had the correct information,” Kraft said Wednesday, per Pro Football Talk. “For four months, that report cast aspersions and shaped public opinion.”

Kraft feels that Roger Goodell did something similar on Tuesday when releasing his report explaining why Brady’s four-game suspension was upheld.

“Yesterday’s decision by Commissioner was released in a similar manner, under an erroneous headline that read, ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’ This headline was designed to capture headlines across the country and obscure evidence regarding the tampering of air pressure in footballs,” Kraft said. “It intentionally implied nefarious behavior and minimized the acknowledgement that Tom provided the history of every number he texted during that relevant time frame. And we had already provided the league with every cellphone of every non-NFLPA that they requested, including head coach Bill Belichick.”

In his own statement on Wednesday, Brady tried to explain what happened to his phone. He also said that he turned over all relevant electronic communications during the appeal, though Goodell basically said the NFL didn’t have time to get in touch with the right people in an attempt to find the truth.

For the most part, even those who don’t believe Brady agree that the league has botched the entire Deflategate investigation. If Goodell’s top priority is protecting the integrity of the game, he could have worked harder to find the truth — even after Brady destroyed and/or replaced his phone.

What if the initial report from Mortensen indicated that each game ball the Patriots used was just a few ticks under the allowable limit? What if we knew from the start that there were two different gauges used to check the balls, and referee Walt Anderson wasn’t certain which one he used? You can’t blame Kraft for thinking that would have drastically changed the narrative.

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