Chris Mortensen sure has irked New England Patriots fans throughout Deflategate.
Mortensen acknowledged earlier this month he could have done a “better job vetting” his original report that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in their AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts were found to be underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch.
The ESPN NFL insider continues to face backlash, though, and he shed more light on his Deflategate reporting Thursday during a radio appearance on Arizona Sports’ “Doug and Wolf Show.”
“The whole narrative that somebody from the league deliberately leaked false information to me is so much baloney,” Mortensen said.
The Wells Report disproved Mortensen’s original report. He finally deleted his tweet containing the information six months later. But Mortensen said Thursday his main focus was the fact that 11 of the 12 footballs were discovered to be underinflated, not the specific PSI of each, and that’s where he ran into trouble.
“If I could have changed the tweet, and I should have changed the tweet, it simply would be to the dialogue that I used, which was 11 footballs — that was my focus, not the PSI — 11 footballs were confirmed to have been underinflated, and you can argue whether they were ‘significantly underinflated’ or not,” Mortensen said. “But I stand by that story.”
Mortensen said earlier this month he spoke with Robert Kraft since the Patriots owner ripped the NFL and the “initial erroneous report.” Essentially, according to Mortensen, the Patriots’ displeasure is with the league and not with the reporter.
That said, Mortensen raised some eyebrows Thursday by revealing that the Patriots’ side actually reached out to him to smooth things over amid the Deflategate madness.
“I understand the passion of the fanatical nation that is in New England and certainly anybody who’s going through this,” Mortensen said. “I’ve had both Krafts — Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft — call me and apologize for just the way this thing has gone down.”
Interesting. While it’s understandable that the organization’s beef is more with commissioner Roger Goodell and the league than with Mortensen, an apology seems a bit excessive, all things considered. In fact, it doesn’t make much sense at all, unless it’s simply the Krafts trying to take the high road.
Nevertheless, Mortensen added that he never implicated Tom Brady throughout his Deflategate reporting and never had a source implicate the Patriots quarterback. He also questions how the whole ordeal has been handled. In Mortensen’s mind, an independent investigation was unnecessary.
“Regardless of what happened with the footballs, I think it could have been handled by the competition committee and the league, and I think it could have been over with in two or three weeks,” Mortensen said, “and that includes with some type of penalty going to the team, maybe for lack of institutional control, and a fine. … and then clean up your protocol.”
Mortensen’s entire radio interview can be found at the link below. It’s worth a listen.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe
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