Robert Kraft isn’t happy, but he also knows it’s time to move on and get ready for the 2016 season.
The New England Patriots owner wasted little time issuing a statement Friday afternoon after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced he was giving up his fight and accepting his four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate.
Kraft accused the NFL of denying Brady’s “right to a fair and impartial process,” adding the NFL’s “investigation into a football pressure matter was flawed and biased from the start and has been discredited nearly unanimously by accredited academics and scientists.”
The NFL nailed Brady and the Patriots with disciplinary measures following the release of the Wells Report on Deflategate. In addition to the quarterback’s four-game suspension, the NFL fined Kraft and the Patriots $1 million, while also making the team forfeit its 2016 first-round draft pick and its 2017 fourth-round pick.
Kraft originally fought the discipline before ultimately giving in, announcing in May that the Patriots no longer would fight the team sanctions.
Read Kraft’s full statement, via Patriots.com, below.
“While I was disappointed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision not to rehear Tom Brady’s case, I am most frustrated that Tom was denied his right to a fair and impartial process. The League’s investigation into a football pressure matter was flawed and biased from the start, and has been discredited nearly unanimously by accredited academics and scientists.
“The penalty imposed by the NFL was unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable, especially given that no empirical or direct evidence of any kind showed Tom did anything to violate League rules prior to, during or after the 2015 AFC Championship Game. What Tom has had to endure throughout this 18-month ordeal has been, in my opinion, as far removed from due process as you could ever expect in this country.
“From day one, I have believed in Tom and given him my unwavering support in his pursuit to rightfully clear his name of any wrongdoing. That support extends throughout our organization and has only grown more steadfast as the preponderance of scientific evidence has exonerated Tom. Unfortunately, this stopped being about air pressure a long time ago.
“This entire process has indelibly taken a toll on our organization, our fans and most importantly, Tom Brady. His reluctant decision to stop pursuing further action and to put this situation behind him is what he feels is best for the team in preparation for this season and is fully supported by me and our entire organization.
“To our devoted fans, your unwavering support for Tom and our organization have only reinforced our longstanding belief that we have the greatest fans in all of sports. We will continue to unequivocally support Tom and know our fans will rally around him and the rest of the team like never before. Our full focus now is on making the upcoming season a memorable one for all of our fans.”
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images