Pats’ Kraft ponders options; Wells report ‘unfair’
Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, calling the Wells report “unfair,” said he is still considering his options in the wake of the NFL’s discipline for underinflated footballs.
“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft told TheMMQB.com. “I’m still thinking things out very carefully. But when you work for something your whole life …
“I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams. We need to have fair and balanced investigating and reporting. But in this [Wells] report, every inference went against us … inferences from ambiguous, circumstantial evidence all went against us. That’s the thing that really bothers me.
“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”
This marked the first time Kraft spoke publicly since the NFL’s decision May 11 to fine the team $ 1 million, take away a 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round draft pick, and suspend quarterback Tom Brady four games. Brady has appealed through the NFL Players Association.
Kraft said Brady told him that he’s innocent and that he believes him.
Asked by TheMMQB.com if he is considering going to court in an attempt to have the discipline overturned, Kraft said, “I’m not going to comment on that at this point in time. I’m going to leave it. I won’t say.”
Kraft was also asked why he accepted the NFL’s penalties for illegal videotaping in 2007, but not these.
“There was no dispute about the facts. The team admittedly said what happened … It was illegal to videotape and in the end we admitted it and took our penance. This is very different. In 2007, we did something and acknowledged the fact of what was done. This is an accusation of wrongdoing, without proof.”