|Bob Kravitz compares Deflategate to Aaron Hernandez trial, says Bill Belichick, Pats should get day in court||02.10.15 at 3:45 pm ET|
The man who began Deflategate has issued a tempered mea culpa.
No, Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com isn’t retracting the story he broke three hours after the conclusion of the AFC championship. Instead, he is clarifying his tweets and columns and WEEI appearances in the subsequent weeks in which he called for Patriots owner Robert Kraft to fire Bill Belichick immediately, draft picks forfeited and Patriots to be heavily fined.
What Kravitz made clear Tuesday was that he was not aware that each tweet and column could be taken out of context and used on its own to show he wanted Belichick fired immediately and the Patriots disciplined. Kravitz wrote Tuesday in a column that is not the case. He said he believes that, like Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots should have their day in court. In this case, justice is coming via a league investigation, purportedly conducted by an outside investigator in Ted Wells.
If the Patriots are proven clean, then the Patriots should be completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. In an interesting addition to his position, Kravitz said that if by some wild chance the Colts were shown to actually be the ones setting up the Patriots for a fall, then he would call for the same harsh penalty to be handed down to owner Jim Irsay, GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano.
|Robert Kraft on keeping Tom Brady, Bill Belichick together with Patriots: ‘As long as the good lord lets me breathe, that’s my objective’||02.06.15 at 3:23 pm ET|
Appearing on CBS This Morning, Robert Kraft answered a number of questions on a number of different topics, including Deflategate, the Super Bowl, Malcolm Butler, and keeping Bill Belichick and Tom Brady together with the Patriots.
The quarterback and coach duo have been to six Super Bowls, and have won four of them, solidifying their spot as the best coach, quarterback tandem of all-time. Kraft said he does not want there to be a time where one of them is on the Patriots without the other.
“As long as the good lord lets me breathe, that’s my objective,” said Kraft on CBS This Morning. “We’ve been able to keep it together for 15 years, and I don’t think there is any other head coach-owner relationship like that. Tommy is just so special the way he takes care of himself, the way he trains and the kind of leader he is.”
Belichick and Brady were attacked in the media in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl with all things Deflategate related, and Kraft backed his coach and quarterback the Monday prior to the big game with a statement demanding the NFL apologize if there was no wrongdoing on the Patriots’ part.
Kraft backed his guys again on Friday.
“Whenever you’re privileged to get to this big game there’s always a lot of distractions that come about. The bottom line is we won our championship game 45-7 and we won the Super Bowl 28-24, and the league pretty much had full charge of the footballs,” said Kraft. “They’re looking into it and I’m really comfortable with the people we have in this organization.”
|Robert Kraft: ‘Just so proud’ of Patriots’ Super Bowl win||02.02.15 at 1:10 am ET|
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Patriots owner Robert Kraft called the fourth championship in 14 years for the franchise “pretty special” especially in the wake of the all the distractions that have surrounded the team in recent weeks.
“It was pretty special,” Kraft said following the 28-24 win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. “With all the distractions, when you get to this game, there’s always things that are pulling you apart. I’m just so proud.
“I think tonight was pretty special. It was right up there.”
“He’s the best,” Kraft said of Brady, who ended up going 37-for-50 for 328 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. “I think he broke Joe Montana‘s touchdown record. Think about it. He grew up idolizing him, and he breaks his touchdown record. But I don’t think he’s done. Please God — we can continue to strive for excellence.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick rave about Robert Kraft||01.30.15 at 4:53 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Although Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are very much different coaches in terms of style, they are both very successful.
Carroll is going for his second straight Super Bowl win on Sunday, while Belichick will attempt to earn his fourth.
They are also connected by current Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as Kraft hired both coaches to coach the Patriots with Carroll coaching in New England from 1997-99.
“I would say, about Robert [Kraft], I had a wonderful experience with Robert,” Carroll said Friday. “He was one that showed great interest in his people and I’m sure he and Bill, as Bill said, have a great relationship and communicate on a regular basis. I think that was the reason that I was hired in New England. I’ll forever be grateful for that.
“The character that he’s demonstrated, the class that he’s demonstrated in the years that followed to support me and my career as I went on ‘ the best thing that has ever happened is that he sent me to USC. He didn’t realize that at the time, but I’ll always be grateful for the time we spent together and will always take pride in watching the great success that these guys have had together in historic fashion for the New England franchise.”
Carroll went on to coach at USC after being fired by Kraft and was there from 2001-09, winning two national championships during his time there.
Belichick too has a lot of his success in the league because of Kraft and he taking the chance to give up a first round pick in 2000 to take him away from the Jets and bring him to New England.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t be here without his support,” Belichick said. “He gave up a number one draft choice, actually a little bit more, in order to bring me to the Patriots in 2000. I’ll be forever grateful for that. Without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I would say that’s really a no-brainer. It’s meant everything.”
|Robert Kraft to critics: Our players think Deflategate statements ‘hogwash’||01.27.15 at 4:41 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Clearly a lot of has been made over the last week-plus of what turned into Deflategate.
It reached its peak Monday night when owner Robert Kraft surprised everyone and spoke prior to the Patriots’ media session at their hotel in Chandler, Arizona and emphatically stood on his team’s side maintaining they did nothing wrong.
Kraft spoke again at the team’s media day Tuesday and said it isn’t affecting the team.
“By and large, except for our quarterback, they’re not paying much attention to it,” Kraft said. “I think they think it’s a bunch of hogwash.”
Kraft said he and his son Jonathan spent the flight to Arizona Monday writing the remarks, but he went back-and-forth deciding whether he would take to the podium before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady‘s scheduled press conferences. Ultimately, 15 minutes before he decided he would speak.
The owner said he got a lot of positive feedback from the team internally, but wouldn’t go into much detail.
“I think they were appreciative, but I don’t think it was a surprise,” Kraft said. “This business is a very complicated, hard business that can be very cruel at times. It’s like family, a marriage … it’s important to always be together on the same page even when you might have minor disagreements. I can tell you, we at the top of the Patriots, my family and our key people, are all one. That was the message I tried to express yesterday.”
Kraft responded to Richard Sherman‘s comments earlier the week about Roger Goodell’s relationship with him and possibly affecting discipline with the Patriots, as Goodell was seen at a get together with Kraft the night before the AFC championship game.
“I think Richard Sherman is a very smart marketing whiz,” Kraft responded. “If you go into the facts of what he said, the NFL always used to pay for a big party for the AFC championship game. We’ve been privileged to own the team for 21 years, and this was our 10th championship game. When the league stopped giving the parties, we started doing it. This is our third one.”
The owner also added the party had a lot of NFL sponsors attend, which ultimately are the ones who help Sherman get paid.
“I think Mr. Sherman understood that he’s the biggest beneficiary, because they get over 50 percent of the revenues,” Kraft said. “So he didn’t go to Harvard, but Stanford must be pretty good because he figured it out.”
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price examine why Robert Kraft came out swinging Monday in defense of his team||at 3:55 am ET|
PHOENIX — After landing in Phoenix Monday afternoon, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to make a passionate defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization over the charges of cheating in Deflategate. WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down why Kraft made the statement and the reaction of Belichick and Brady, who followed Kraft to the podium.
|Robert Kraft defends Patriots, says NFL should apologize if league finds them not guilty of any wrongdoing||01.26.15 at 8:14 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Robert Kraft came out swinging on Monday night, defending the reputation of the Patriots in the wake of Deflategate and adding that if the NFL doesn’t find New England guilty of tampering with footballs, he would expect a full apology from the league.
The owner, speaking prior to coach Bill Belichick at media availability at their team hotel, said he is “confident” that the league will exonerate the team.
“I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts that took place last Sunday,” Kraft said of the probe that the NFL has undertaken.
Here is the complete transcript of Kraft’s remarks regarding the events of last week:
“Given the events of the last week, I want to take a minute to address the air pressure matter before we kickoff this week’s media availability. I have spoken with Coach Belichick. I have spoken with Tom Brady. I’ve taken the time to understand to the best of my abilities what goes on in the preparation of game day footballs. I want to make it clear, that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process in violation of NFL rules.
“Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys. They are part of my family and Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years and I have never known them to lie to me. That is why I am confident in saying what I just said. It bothers me greatly that their reputations and integrity, and by association, that of our team has been called into question this past week.
“As I said on Friday in my prepared statement, we welcome the league’s investigation and the involvement of Attorney [Ted] Wells. I am confident this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment. This would be in direct contrast to the public discourse which has been driven by media leaks, as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jump to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular Coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they’ve had to endure this past week.
“I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled, and reported upon. We expect hard facts, as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to draw the conclusion of this investigation. In closing, I would like to say to all the fans of the National Football League, and especially the amazing fans of the New England Patriots, that I and our entire organization believe strongly in the integrity of the game, and that the rules of fair play, are properly, equitably and fairly enforced. Thank you.”
Ryan Hannable contributed to this report.