Over the course of the last week, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has heard more than a few people criticize his head coach Bill Belichick, his quarterback Tom Brady, and his organization as a whole for their alleged role in #DeflateGate. And he doesn't think it's fair that the NFL has allowed so many football analysts and fans to jump to conclusions about what his team did or didn't know about the deflated footballs that were used during the AFC Championship Game against the Colts. So last night—a few hours after Fox Sports reported that the NFL is investigating the possible connection between a Patriots' locker room attendant and the underinflated balls—Kraft held a press conference and essentially called the NFL out for not doing a better job of clearing the Patriots for any wrongdoing with regards to the #DeflateGate controversy.
"We welcome the league's investigation and the involvement of Attorney [Ted] Wells," he said. "I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment. This would be in direct contrast to the public discourse, which has been driven by media leaks as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jumped to conclusions and made scarring accusations against our coach, quarterback, and staff questioning the integrity of all involved."
Kraft also said that if the NFL finds that the Patriots did not knowingly deflate footballs, then he expects Roger Goodell & Co. to issue an apology to New England as soon as the investigation is over.
"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 that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week," he said. "I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation."
Or in other words: "You better find something to really nail us, NFL. Or else…"
It'll be interesting to see what the NFL says and does once their #DeflateGate investigation is actually over. Because unless they've got a video that features Belichick and Brady huddled in a room deflating footballs and laughing maniacally, it doesn't sound like Kraft is going to accept any sort of punishment from the league.
[via Sports Illustrated]
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