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Robert Kraft: Patriots Won't Appeal Deflategate Punishment

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  • Robert Kraft: Patriots Won't Appeal Deflategate Punishment

    Robert Kraft: Patriots won't appeal Deflategate punishment

    Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer

    SAN FRANCISCO -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the reigning Super Bowl champions will accept their punishment from the NFL in the Deflategate investigation.

    The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked two draft picks -- a first-rounder in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2017 -- by the NFL after an investigation found that star quarterback Tom Brady was "at least generally aware" of a scheme to illegally deflate footballs for the AFC Championship Game.

    Striking a conciliatory tone, Kraft said Tuesday that the Patriots will not appeal the penalties.

    "Although I might disagree what is decided, I do have respect for [commissioner Roger Goodell] and believe that he's doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of [all 32 teams]," Kraft said, while speaking to the media at the NFL owners meetings. "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."

    Kraft said that he was putting the league before his franchise because "at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the 32."

    The league also suspended Brady for four games, a punishment the he is appealing through the National Football League Players Association. George Atallah, the NFLPA's executive director of external affairs, tweeted shortly after Kraft's announcement that Brady will continue his appeal.

    Despite widespread speculation that Kraft dropped his opposition to the punishment in exchange for promises regarding who will handle Brady's appeal, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the league made no assurances to the Patriots or Kraft regarding Brady's fate.

    The NFLPA formally asked Goodell to recuse himself as the arbitrator in Brady's appeal later Tuesday, following through on a statement sent to the league last week.

    Kraft, who did not take questions from reporters Tuesday, remained critical of the NFL's handling of the incident, saying that the process "has taken way too long." He called the past few weeks "emotionally charged" and noted that he had two options -- "to end it or extend it."

    "I think I made it clear when the [Wells] report came out that I didn't think it was fair," he said. "There was no hard evidence and everything was circumstantial. At the same time, when the discipline came out [from the NFL], I felt it was way over the top as it was unreasonable and unprecedented in my opinion."

    Kraft said, however, that he took some time to arrive at his final decision on whether to appeal, explaining that he likes to "measure nine times and cut once." He acknowledged that "maybe if I made the decision last week, it would be different than it is today."

    The NFL and the Patriots previously had been engaged in talks to resolve their differences without an appeal or possible litigation, sources told Schefter.

    Kraft and Goodell sat down and talked "for quite a long time" before hugging at a birthday party Saturday night in New York for CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, an industry source told Schefter.

    This is the second time in Kraft's 21 years as owner that the Patriots have been disciplined for breaking NFL rules. In 2007, they were penalized for videotaping New York Jets signals during a game. They didn't challenge fines of $500,000 against coach Bill Belichick and $250,000 against the club, along with the loss of a first-round draft pick.

    But Kraft also has long been a confidant and adviser to Goodell and was one of the owners who championed Goodell to replace Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Kraft also was one of the leaders in getting key owners and the union together to end the 2011 lockout, and he's been a major force in negotiations with TV networks.

    "What I've learned over the last 21 years is the heart and soul and strength of the NFL is the partnership of 32 teams," he said Tuesday.

    Kraft said that the Deflategate issue has produced "two polarizing audiences," explaining that one end of the spectrum is "Patriots fans throughout the country who have been so supportive and really inspirational to us, and believing in us," while the other side is "fans that feel just the opposite."

    "What I've learned is that the ongoing rhetoric continues to galvanize both camps, and I don't see that changing," he said. "They will never agree."

    He realizes that a portion of his fan base won't look favorably on his choice to not appeal.

    "I know a lot of Patriot 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 is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL," Kraft said.

  • #2
    Re: Robert Kraft: Patriots Won't Appeal Deflategate Punishment

    Very surprising, especially after that rock solid 10,000 page War and Peace rebuttal, highlighted by the revelation that "Deflator" refers to weight loss. The Patriots are obviously making a big mistake here by not taking advantage of their superior arguments.........


    • #3
      Re: Robert Kraft: Patriots Won't Appeal Deflategate Punishment

      I wonder if R. Kraft still wants appologies from everyone under the sun? Now he has with drawn any appeals from the table... Pure entertainment!


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      • Nick
        Goodell: Belichick and Patriots have been taping since 2000
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        Belichick told NFL commish he thought it was OK to do
        Posted: Wednesday February 13, 2008 6:37PM; Updated: Wednesday February 13, 2008 11:42PM

        WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bill Belichick has been illegally taping opponents' defensive signals since he became the New England Patriots' coach in 2000, according to Sen. Arlen Specter, who said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told him that during a meeting Wednesday.

        "There was confirmation that there has been taping since 2000, when Coach Belichick took over," Specter said.

        Specter said Goodell gave him that information during the 1-hour, 40-minute meeting, which was requested by Specter so the commissioner could explain his reasons for destroying the Spygate tapes and notes.

        "There were a great many questions answered by Commissioner Goodell," Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters after the meeting. "I found a lot of questions unanswerable because of the tapes and notes had been destroyed."

        Goodell said Belichick told him he believed the taping was legal; Goodell said he did not concur.

        "He said that's always been his interpretation since he's been the head coach," the commissioner said. "We are going to agree to disagree on the facts."

        Specter, from Pennsylvania, wants to talk to other league officials about what exactly was taped and which games may have been compromised.

        "We have a right to have honest football games," he said.

        Goodell noted that "we were the ones that disclosed" the Patriots' illegal taping of the New York Jets' defensive signals in Week 1 of last season. Further, Goodell said, they had an admission by Belichick.

        "I have nothing to hide," Goodell said.

        Goodell also told Specter that that he doesn't regret destroying the Spygate tapes or the notes.

        "I think it was the right thing to do," Goodell said.

        Still, Specter wants to know why penalties were imposed on Belichick before the full extent of the wrongdoing was known and the tapes destroyed in a two-week span. Asked if he thinks there was a coverup, Specter demurred.

        "There was an enormous amount of haste," Specter said.

        He scoffed at the reasons Goodell gave for destroying the tapes and notes, particularly about trying to keep them out of competitors' hands and because Belichick had admitted to the taping.

        "What's that got to do with it? There's an admission of guilt, you preserve the evidence," Specter said. As for keeping the tapes out of the hands of others: "All you have to do is lock up the tapes."

        Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000 because of the...
        -02-13-2008, 11:49 PM
      • RamOfDenmark
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        NEW YORK (AP) -- The lawyer for former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh said his client is willing to turn over videotapes he made for the team if the NFL guarantees Walsh protection from lawsuits or other legal action.

        Attorney Michael Levy said that to date, the NFL's initial proposals are not sufficient protection for Walsh, who is said to have taped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough practice the day before they played the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots won. 20-17.

        "The NFL's proposal is not full indemnification," Levy told The Associated Press Friday in a telephone interview from his office at the Washington law firm of McKee Nelson.

        "It is highly conditional and still leaves Mr. Walsh vulnerable. I have asked the NFL to provide Mr. Walsh with the necessary legal protections so that he can come forward with the truth without fear of retaliation and litigation. To best serve the interest of the public and everyone involved, I am hopeful that the NFL will do so promptly."

        NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he's offered Walsh a deal whereby "he has to tell the truth and he has to return anything he took improperly" in return for indemnity.

        "No one wants to talk to Matt Walsh more than we do," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday.

        "But his demand to be released from all responsibility even if his comments are not truthful is unprecedented and unreasonable. The NFL and the Patriots have assured Mr. Walsh's lawyer that there will be no adverse consequences for his client if Mr. Walsh truthfully shares what he knows. Why does he need any more protection than that?"

        Walsh, now a golf pro in Maui, did video work for the Patriots when they won the first of their three Super Bowl after the 2001 season.

        Goodell said Walsh was not interviewed as part of the NFL's investigation into "Spygate," which involved the NFL confiscating tapes from a Patriots employee who recorded the New York Jets' defensive signals from the sideline during the opening game of the 2007 season.

        As a result of that investigation, New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000 and forfeited its 2008 first-round draft choice.

        Six confiscated tapes and other documents pertaining to the Patriots' taping were subsequently destroyed by the league. Goodell has defended the destruction of the tapes.

        Levy, who is continuing to negotiate with the NFL on Walsh's behalf, also objected to NFL security's investigation of his client.

        "Sending a former FBI agent to investigate his professional and personal life has not left Mr....
        -02-15-2008, 05:40 PM
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        Sounding not at all like Franklin D. Roosevelt, they all say they have nothing to fear but fear itself. If that’s the case, then why is it so difficult to agree not to sue a former low-level employee of the Patriots in exchange for taking a peek at his video collection and possibly listening to his audio collection?
        NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

        Commissioner Roger Goodell kept saying for weeks that “no one wants to talk with Matt Walsh more than we do,” after which he sent a guy from NFL security — former FBI agent Dick Farley — to investigate him at his former places of employment. Way to open a guy up to a chat.

        Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has become more than an interested spectator in what has become the embarrassing mess called Spygate II, which might morph into Audiogate I, as well, if Walsh has any of the tape recordings of conversations between himself and Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli that Walsh has been accused of making. Specter was so interested in the matter that he forced Goodell to come to his office in Washington. The senator was told the commissioner knew Farley worked for him but claimed he didn’t know Farley was investigating anybody.

        That admission came after Goodell had insisted that destroying the evidence in Spygate I before he’d even seen it wasn’t all that unusual. He sounded like he could move right into management with the LAPD.

        Goodell has unwisely treated this as the NFL treats most things — as a public-relations problem. He says he acted swiftly when the first charges were leveled at Bill Belichick for cheating, although we now have learned he acted so swiftly he fined Belichick four days before the Patriots produced the notes and tapes he sought. How do you punish someone before you know what he did?

        Then, it turns out, Goodell had his minions, including an attorney named Jeff Pash, who should have known better, destroy the evidence while they were in Foxborough, a move Goodell defends as “the right thing to do.” How is destroying evidence the right thing to do?

        That action now calls into question the alleged “leaking” of a portion of one of those tapes to Fox-TV news maven Jay Glazer. At the time, Goodell was supposedly outraged, yet now we have learned that the tapes were destroyed by Pash and NFL vice president Ray Anderson while they were in Foxborough at the instruction of Goodell. What that means, if Goodell is to be believed, is that either the Patriots leaked it to make themselves look bad or Goodell’s office did it because if they destroyed the tapes in Foxborough, no one else would have ever had access to them.

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      • MauiRam
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        BOSTON (AP) - Patriots coach Bill Belichick broke his silence on New England's twin taping controversies, denying he told anyone to tape the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl and apologizing for all the attention generated by Spygate. Belichick also told the Boston Globe he "couldn't pick Matt Walsh out of a lineup." Walsh, a former Patriots employee, reportedly taped St. Louis' walkthrough practice the day before the Patriots beat the Rams 20-17 in the championship.

        "In my entire coaching career, I've never seen another team's practice film prior to playing that team," Belichick said in a story posted on the Globe's Web site Sunday night. "I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any other team's walkthrough. We don't even film our own."

        Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli also told the newspaper that part of the reason Walsh was fired in January 2003 was because he secretly recorded conversations between himself and Pioli.

        Michael Levy, Walsh's attorney, said Pioli's account was a "complete fabrication."

        "This is a predictable and pathetic effort to smear Mr. Walsh's character rather than confront the truth about the Patriots' conduct," Levy said in the Globe story.

        Levy has said his client is willing to turn over videotapes he made for the team if the NFL guarantees Walsh protection from lawsuits or other legal action.

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        Goodell fined Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and took away a first-round draft choice after the Patriots were caught taping New York Jets' coaches in last year's season opener, a 38-14 New England victory.

        Belichick said he misinterpreted the rule, which he felt only prohibited taping that could be used during the same game.

        He also apologized for the controversy the taping caused.

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