NFL releases statement on Deflategate investigation

The NFL released a statement on its investigation into Deflategate on Friday.   
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The NFL released a statement on its investigation into Deflategate on Friday. 

The league said it has conducted nearly 40 interviews so far, including of "Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise." It also continues to obtain evidence in the form of video and other electronic information.

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The NFL said the evidence "thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half." The league confirmed that prior to the game, the balls were all tested and found to be of satisfactory inflation, and that the balls were all properly inflated for the second half and remained that way. 

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As it continues its investigation, the NFL retained the investigatory firm Renaissance Associates, who use sophisticated forensic expertise to "assist in reviewing electronic and video information." From the NFL:

The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.

The league said the Patriots have pledged their "full cooperation" and have made both personnel and information available for the investigation. 

Partriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement on Friday in response to the NFL, saying he was informed about the investigation on Monday by the league and that the organization has provided the NFL access "to every full- and part-time employee the league's representatives requested to speak with." From the statement:

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"It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously. I very much support the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process. Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league’s investigation."

On Thursday, New England quarterback Tom Brady said he "didn't alter the balls in any way," while coach Bill Belichick said he was shocked to hear about the controversy. 

Molly Geary