|05.20.15 at 3:09 pm ET|
Speaking publicly for the first time since the release of the Wells Report, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he admired the decision of Patriots owner Robert Kraft to not fight any potential punishment around Deflategate, but said the move will not have an impact when it comes to the appeal of quarterback Tom Brady.
“I look forward to hearing from Tom if there’s new information, so we can get this right,” Goodell said at the conclusion of the NFL meetings Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.
Goodell said he had not made a decision on the NFLPA’s request to recuse himself as the hearing officer in Brady’s appeal.
“I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady, but the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis,” Goodell added of Brady, who is facing a four-game suspension. “Any time anyone’s suspended from a game that they love, it’s difficult.”
Goodell was not sure of a potential date for the appeal, saying that he has been focused on the business at the league meetings. He added that he looks forward to speaking with Brady, saying “the key for us” is to be able to allow for any information that Brady and the reps have when it comes to the story to be added.
Goodell also indicated that while he anticipates changes in the pregame protocol when it comes to how footballs will be handled, those changes have yet to be put in place.
He was also asked if the NFL told the Patriots to suspend two team employees, Jim McNally and John Jastremski for their role, and Goodell answered, “No.”
On Tuesday, Kraft said he would “reluctantly” accept the penalties imposed by the league after the investigation into the team’s use of underinflated footballs in last year’s AFC title game — a $1 million fine, and the loss of draft picks in 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round).
The commissioner praised Kraft for his decision.
“The decision Robert made was his decision,” said the commissioner. “I admire and respect Robert, as you all know. We’ve had plenty of discussions over the last couple of weeks, and this was his initiative and something he wanted to do, and I certainly admire the step he took.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|05.20.15 at 1:23 pm ET|
According to a CNN report, Aaron Hernandez played a role in an apparent gang fight Monday at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, where the former Patriots tight end is being held after receiving a life sentence for murder.
CNN, crediting a law enforcement source, reports that Hernandez served as a lookout for a prisoner who went into another inmate’s cell and engaged in a fight. All three individuals are being disciplined, with Hernandez placed in a special management section of the prison.
Hernandez was convicted in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd. He is due back in court Thursday for a status hearing related to his second trial, for a 2012 double-homicide in Boston.
|05.20.15 at 10:16 am ET|
ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to discuss why Robert Kraft ended the Patriots’ fight against the NFL over Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Kraft held a press conference Tuesday from the owners meetings in San Francisco and stunned Patriots fans by announcing he would accept the league’s penalties in an attempt to move past the controversy. Florio said he agrees with the widespread speculation that Kraft struck a deal with Goodell, although he’s not sure what it might entail.
“Whether it’s just for future considerations, whether it’s for a Super Bowl in Foxboro at some point in the next decade, whether it’s a wink/nod, ‘Don’t breathe a word of it to anybody but maybe Roger Goodell’s going to reduce Tom Brady‘s suspension’ type of a promise, there’s got to be something. Because you don’t pivot that quickly.
“Robert Kraft said yesterday you measure nine times and you cut once, and that same mindset applied when they issued the 20,000-word manifesto just six days ago, the 50-minute angry interview with Peter King. These are things that even though emotional on the surface were not the product of anything but careful and deliberate thought. Strategy went into both of those two things, and strategy went into what we saw yesterday. He’s not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing.”
Added Florio: “Logic, common sense, you start piecing it together — OK, there was the report of the talks [between Kraft and Goodell], they had been talking, they’re working something out, and the Patriots’ aspect of it is we’re going to take our medicine and go home. Now the return on that bargain comes down the road. We just don’t know what it is. And they’re never going to tell us what it is. For all the leaks that we’ve seen in this case, I don’t think anybody’s going to come out and say what it was, especially because there may be only two people on the earth who know — Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell.”
|05.19.15 at 7:00 pm ET|
The Patriots did register one victory of sorts Tuesday on the first day of owner’s meetings in San Francisco.
The extra point will not be nearly as routine as in years past as owners approved the competition committee’s proposal to move the try back 13 yards. The PAT will be snapped from the 15-yard line and kicked from the 23-yard line. This proposal was tried last preseason. The result will be a 33-yard extra point after every touchdown or a two-point attempt.
Two-point conversions will remain at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns of failed two-point tries.
According to the rule change, if the defense returns a failed two-point try for a touchdown (i.e. interception, fumble return), they will be awarded two points. Previously, the play was simply blown dead.
Owners also considered a proposal by the Patriots similar to the adopted plan, but without the defense’s ability to score. A plan proposed by Philadelphia called for a 15-yard PAT and the ball on the 1-yard line for two-point attempts.
|05.19.15 at 4:13 pm ET|
In the wake of Robert Kraft’s announcement that the Patriots will accept the punishment from the league as the result of Deflategate, the NFLPA issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon, formally requesting that Roger Goodell recuse himself from serving as the arbitrator in Tom Brady‘s appeal case. Their statement reads:
The NFLPA has formally requested that Commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady‘s disciplinary appeal. Given a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement, the Commissioner’s role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the Commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator in this matter. The players also believe that the Commissioner’s history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner.
If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|05.19.15 at 2:09 pm ET|
With Robert Kraft accepting the penalties against the Patriots for their role in Deflategate, the simple question is, do you agree with Kraft’s decision?
Do you agree with Robert Kraft accepting the Patriots' penalties for Deflategate?
- No (87%, 5,202 Votes)
- Yes (13%, 783 Votes)
Total Voters: 5,985
|05.19.15 at 1:45 pm ET|
At the NFL owners meetings in San Francisco, Robert Kraft spoke for roughly five minutes before announcing the team will accept its penalties (two draft picks and $1 million fine) for its role in Deflategate.
Here is the complete transcript of Kraft’s statement:
It’s been an emotionally charged couple of weeks, as all of you know, and I’ve been considering what my options are. And 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. But I’m also mindful at the other 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. They will never agree.
But the one thing that we all can agree upon is the entire process has taken way too long. And I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months of 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, and 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. And 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 owner’s meeting. So here’s a fan and former season ticket holder, living a dream and being welcomed in that room. And I got goosebumps that day. And I vowed at that time that I would do everything 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 help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.
What I’ve learned over the last two decades is that the heart and soul of the strength of the NFL is the 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 way of looking at problems that are very strong in my mind and before I make the final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once.
And I think maybe if 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. And 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 interests 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. And 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. And 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.