Then he saw the punishment, found it ridiculous and changed his mind. He wasn’t just going to accept it.
The punishment was excessive, unprecedented and didn’t come close to fitting the crime or, in Tom Brady’s case, the evidence against him. The Patriots were fined $1 million (the biggest single team fine in league history), stripped of a first-round draft pick next year, a fourth-round pick in 2017 and Brady was suspended four games.
Kraft was not going to simply accept those terms without saying something. Here was his statement on Monday night:
“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league,” Kraft said. “Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.
“We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world. We recognize our fans’ concerns regarding the NFL’s penalties and share in their disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled, as well as the dismissal of the scientific evidence supported by the Ideal Gas Law in the final report.
“Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered.”
Kraft has been one of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s biggest supporters. It seems this battle would put a strain on that relationship, to say the least.
The question is what recourse the Patriots could have. Brady can and will appeal through the NFL Players Association. An unnamed owner told Bleacher Report that the owners are “waiting a little nervously” to see what Kraft does next. It’s hard to believe that Kraft could just make a statement like that and have it be the last we hear from him about it.
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