New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters Tuesday that he will not appeal the punishment levied against the franchise by the NFL in the wake of the Deflategate scandal.
"I'm going to accept, reluctantly, what [commissioner Roger Goodell] has given us," Kraft said. He did not answer questions from reporters, saying he didn't want to "continue the rhetoric."
The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked two draft picks—a 2016 first-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2017. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and has already filed an appeal of the suspension. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said the Patriots' decision "will not impact" Brady's appeal.
Kraft had been critical of the NFL's punishment and investigation and his relationship with Goodell had reportedly been strained. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Goodell and Kraft "spoke and even hugged."
Kraft's first interview after the punishment came with The MMQB's Peter King in a piece published Monday. Kraft told King that NFL's decision to suspend quarterback Tom Brady for four games, fine the organization $1 million and take away two draft picks "wasn't fair."
The report by investigator Ted Wells commissioned by the NFL did not find any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of Kraft or head coach Bill Belichick, but did find that two Patriots staffers intentionally removed air from footballs and that Brady was most likely aware of their actions.
"I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence," Kraft said in a statement after the report was released.
- Dan Gartland