SAN FRANCISCO—(ENEWSPF)—May 19, 2015. New England Patriots’ Owner Robert Kraft said at an NFL owners meeting held today that the team will not appeal its $1 million fine and loss of two draft choices as the penalty issued for the team’s for role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game. Mr. Kraft’s remarks follow.
RKK: It’s been an emotionally charged couple of weeks, as all of you know. I’ve been considering what my options are. Throughout this whole process, there have been two polarizing audiences. At one end of the spectrum, we’ve had Patriots fans throughout the country who have been so supportive and really inspirational to us and believing in us. I’m also mindful at the other end of the spectrum there are fans that feel just the opposite. What I’ve learned is the ongoing rhetoric continues to galvanize both camps and I don’t see that changing, and they will never agree. The one thing that we all can agree upon is the entire process has taken way too long. I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months [since] the AFC Championship Game we are still talking about air pressure and the psi in footballs.
So, I think I made it clear when the report came out that I didn’t think it was fair. There was no hard evidence and everything was circumstantial. At the same time, when the discipline came out, I felt it was way over the top, as it was unreasonable and unprecedented in my opinion.
So, I have two options: I can try to end it or extend it. I have given a lot of thought to both options. The first thing that came to mind is 21 years ago, I had the privilege of going to a meeting similar to what we’re at here, in Orlando, and being welcomed in an NFL owners’ meeting. Here’s a fan and a former season ticket holder living a dream and being welcomed in that room. I got goosebumps that day. I vowed at that time that I would do everything that I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team and hopefully respected throughout the country and at the same time, do whatever I could do to try to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.
You know what I’ve learned over the last two decades is that the heart and soul of the strength of the NFL is a partnership of 32 teams. What’s become very clear over those two decades [is] that at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the full 32. So, I have a way of looking at problems that are very strong in my mind. Before I make a final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once. I think maybe if I had made the decision last week it would be different than it is today. But believing in the strength of the partnership and the 32 teams, we have concentrated the power of adjudication of problems in the office of the commissioner. Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the Commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interest of the full 32.
So, in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won’t appeal.
Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision. But I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL. I hope you all can respect that. You know, I would normally take questions, but my desire is truly not to continue the rhetoric, so I’m going to leave this discussion exactly here. Thank you very much.