Patriots owner rips into 'Deflategate' report: 'No hard evidence'
Patriots owner Robert Kraft doesn't really agree with anything in the Ted Wells' report on Deflategate.
Independent investigator Ted Wells finally released his much-anticipated Deflategate report on Wednesday and less than five minutes after the report was released, Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement ripping apart the 243-page report that took over 100 days to put together.
"When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 -- over 14 weeks ago -- I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation," Kraft said in the statement. "That sentiment has not changed."
In the report, Wells came to the conclusion that Tom Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of [two Patriots equipment staffers] involving the release of air from Patriots game balls."
Kraft's not buying that conclusion, though. One of Kraft's main problems with the report is that it didn't take science into account.
"I was convinced that Ted Wells' investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots," Kraft said. "Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don't know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence."
Kraft also took issue with the fact that Wells' report didn't mention that the Indianapolis Colts were also using underinflated footballs during the AFC Championship game. Deflategate started when Indy accused the Patriots of deflating their own footballs for the title game in January.
"What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts' four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate," Kraft said. "If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence."
After pointing out the problems of the report, Kraft flat-out blasted it, saying that there was no "hard evidence" that the Patriots deflated footballs.
"Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement," Kraft said. "In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer."
Although Kraft seems to staunchly disagree with the report, he did say that the Patriots will accept any punishment doled out by the league -- but only because resistance would be "futile."
"While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile," Kraft said. "We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league."
What that discipline might be is unknown at this point. According to ESPN.com, the NFL is currently considering a possible punishment for Brady and the two locker room attendants who were "aware" that Brady liked his footballs deflated.
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