On Monday night, Patriots owner Robert Kraft (via Twitter) issued a statement regarding the penalties levied against his team.
“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league. Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence. We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world. 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. Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered.”
Kraft’s statement made it clear that he is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Brady, who is also prepared to fight the league. Here’s another round of reactions to the Pats’ scandal..
- Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) wouldn’t expect the Patriots to be in the market right away for a veteran quarterback in the wake of the Brady ruling. He believes that the Pats will wait to see how the appeal goes and evaluate their own situation before making any moves. As it stands, rising sophomore Jimmy Garoppolo would likely be New England’s starter for the first four games of the 2015 season.
- An NFL owner told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) that the relationship between commissioner Roger Goodell and Kraft seems “pretty much dead.” “I can’t say for certain but it sure seems that way to me,” the owner, who knows both men well, said. “Some of us (owners) are waiting a little nervously to see what Robert does next.”
- Mike Chappell of CBS4 (on Twitter) wouldn’t be surprised if Brady appeals and has his four-game suspension cut in half.
- The $1MM fine levied against the Patriots is the largest team fine in NFL history, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via SportsCenter on Twitter).
- Brady’s agent, Don Yee, is going to the mat for his client as they prepare to appeal his suspension. Yee also represents Saints coach Sean Payton, and Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune wonders why Yee didn’t fight harder for him when he was suspended for a season as a result of BountyGate.
- Brady left Roger Goodell no choice but to make an example of him, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News opines.
- Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News explained why the punishment for the Patriots and Brady was so severe.