New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered full-throated support for his suspended quarterback and blasted the NFL’s punishment of Tom Brady and his team as biased.
“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league,” Kraft affirmed on Monday. “Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.”
Last week, Kraft called out Ted Wells for claiming that the Patriots denied him a follow-up interview with ball handler Jim McNally. Kraft noted that the team allowed Wells to interview McNally four times before denying investigators their request for an interview. The Wells Report merely mentions the denial of a “follow-up” interview, conveying the idea that the Patriots allowed but one interview. The misleading passage “offended” Kraft.
The owner had been a steadfast supporter of Roger Goodell, issuing one of the first and loudest statements of support for the embattled commissioner when he faced calls for his resignation in the wake of mishandling the Ray Rice suspension. The harsh punishment of Kraft’s team–a first-round pick in 2016, a fourth rounder the following season, and $1 million fine–and of a player he essentially regards as an extra son may complicate the relationship between Goodell and one of his 32 bosses.
“We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world,” Kraft continued in his statement posted to Patriots.com. “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.”
He ended on a note of support for the quarterback who has helped win Kraft four Super Bowl rings.
“Tom Brady has our unconditional support,” Kraft concluded. “Our belief in him has not wavered.”