Robert Kraft calls key aspect of ESPN report “total fabrication and fiction”

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The ESPN report regarding internal dysfunction at the Patriots has no on-the-record sources. The Patriots have now gone on the record multiple times to push back against key aspects of the article.

Most recently, Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a strong and sweeping denial regarding the contention that Kraft directed coach Bill Belichick to trade former backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during an in-season, half-day meeting. Kraft told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that the claim “a total fabrication and fiction. I am telling you, it’s fiction.”

Kraft told King that, prior to Monday, October 30, the last internal discussion about Garoppolo’s status happened in June.

“That is the last time I talked to Bill about it,” Kraft said. “I assumed once the season started, we’d talk again at the end of the season about it. The next time I spoke with Bill about it was the Monday before the trade deadline. He called me on that Monday and said he got a deal with San Francisco, Jimmy for a second-round pick and [quarterback] Brian Hoyer. Turns out they had to cut Hoyer and then we got him. But really, this was basically a second-round pick and Brian Hoyer for Jimmy. Bill asked me if I was OK with this. I was really taken aback a little bit. I wanted to think about it. I talked to [Patriots president] Jonathan [Kraft], who was OK with it, and I called Bill back and said, ‘OK.'”

Robert Kraft also said that he “absolutely” believes Belichick will return in 2018.

Belichick and Brady have not yet commented on the report, primarily because they have not yet had press conferences or other media availability. Trainer Alex Guerrero already has gone on the record to deny certain allegations in the story regarding his role in the alleged turmoil.

In contrast, the ESPN article has no on-the-record sources. While anonymous sourcing alone doesn’t make a story untrue, the owner of the team has said in clear, unequivocal terms that there was no meeting, and that there was no direction to trade Garoppolo.

70 responses to “Robert Kraft calls key aspect of ESPN report “total fabrication and fiction”

  1. It’s not as though Pats fans don’t believe there could easily have been some tension regarding the where and when of trading Garoppolo, it’s just that we don’t buy for a minute that it would be anyone from bspn that would be the one to get any reliable info about the goings on in Fortress Foxborough.

  2. Of course, he would deny it because it’s not true.

    There is unease in Foxboro and it relates to two very real things and Wickersham certainly covered the main one, Guerrero. Offensive players would go to TB12 instead of team trainers and many thought that was to curry favor with Tom Brady. That’s a serious conflict for a team. The other issue is that they all sense that Patricia and McDaniels are gone after the season ends.

  3. ESPN and their seasonal agenda of tactics against the GOAT and the Pats…now the coach and owner. Attempts to distract them during the playoffs and/or a SB run doesn’t work. When will they learn.

  4. Maybe this situation is different, partly false or even completely false. But the Pats are the team which has denied cheating, breaking league rules, multiple times in the past. We know what their credibility on that issue.

  5. IMO this hinges on Brady’s refusing to hang it up. I have nothing but admiration for the guy especially after SB LI, but he’s just not as good as he used to be. I would have loved to see him hang it up after that game, based on the “go out on top, it can’t get any better than this so leave them wanting more” theory.

    In sports there’s nothing sadder than to watch one of the greats refuse to quit. I remember in 1966 Jim Brown retired after just 9 seasons, and it was said that one of his reasons was to “hang out with the Beatles (a British rock group) and the Stones.”

    The point is – he went out on top, sparing us having to watch him decline, which I fear will be the case with Brady.

  6. I usually dont believe much that comes out of the Pats camp, but when I saw ESPN was the source… I believe Kraft 100%

  7. kraft is the biggest liar and greediest owner in the league. Why would anyone believe him after all the shady things he has done?

  8. Meanwhile, the reigning Super Bowl Champions are enjoying their 8th consecutive first round bye. Enjoy your weekend, fans of the rest…:)

  9. I think my favorite part of this whole story is how quickly and gleefully Patriots haters are embracing this. The fact that you guys are celebrating the alleged impending breakup of the group and subsequent end to the dynasty is pathetic. Beat the currently constituted Patriots into a 6-10 season, then you can celebrate. Otherwise, if Brady and/or Belichick were to leave or retire, under contentious or amicable circumstances, make no mistake about it: you didn’t beat anyone, there’s nothing to celebrate. The Patriots just allowed you to have the NFL back.

  10. Let it all play out on the field. If they are in such turmoil then they should struggle on the field when things get tough being Coach/QB/Owner are at odds. If they have a successful playoff run then this story was one of the biggest wastes of time sense the manufactured Tebow drama. Also perpetrated by ESPN.

  11. If I were the Krafts why not let a coach who has three years left
    Go and keep his students like McDaniels etc…is this Parcells/
    Belichick of many years ago? Where Kraft failed to hire
    Belichick because of Parcells ( Kraft did get a raw deal from
    Parcells who was negotiating with the Jets while coaching
    Super Bowl week.)
    Kraft has admitted he should have hired Belichick when Parcells
    left…..so hire your next coach from within. Continuity is not a bad
    way. Look at the Steelers who have a three coaches since 1968.

  12. It’s ESPN…who is surprised…they have been manufacturing sports news and being relative sports “antagonists” for years now. They stopped being sports “reporting” a long time ago – the “E” stands for “Entertainment”.

  13. The rich owner said so, so it must be true, lol. I remember when the 49er organization did this dance too, and I said Harbaugh would shortly be leaving. Belichick is gone folks. If not this January, it will happen shortly thereafter.

  14. It was a moot point when Brady was extended Feb 2016. Look at Brady’s cap hit and dead cap for 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. If Jimmy G didn’t help them out with his salary in 2018, he was gone. Simple math. It’s another thing to think a head coach would want to bench a QB that led the team to a SB win and the playoffs this year and go with an unproven QB but that’s another story. Fans and media love the player not playing.

  15. Before we go to far this is pretty easy. You have an owner of a team with very questionable ethical purity and a report with few ethics. My guest if both were laying in the road the skid marks would be in front of the reporter.

  16. “Robert Kraft is lying”.

    You’re probably one those people bleating about the use of unnamed sources. Yet here is Kraft directly stating that the report is inaccurate and you don’t believe him. Apparently you wish to have your opinion unfettered by any information whatsoever.

  17. Here’s the reality and it’s amazing how stupid Wickersham and ESPN are. This is a league about money and effectively managing the salary cap. IF the Patriots decided to cut Brady and negotiate or tag Garoppolo, the DEAD MONEY would have been 14 Million in 2018 and another 7 million in 2019. Throw in the fact that Brady delivered FIVE championships to New England. The economic hit to whacking Brady made no sense from a money perspective. Also, you couldn’t keep Brady and then TAG JG for another 23 million. That wrecks your finances and they can’t develop a winning roster for 2018. Bottom line is Pats were committed to Brady financially. At 40, he delivered an MVP season. Brady will, no question, be the league MVP. The talking heads want to paint him as ordinary, but he was solid all year. So, if he falters at age 41 or 42 or 43, who cares. The roster is stacked and the Pats can still win with an “above average” Brady instead of an elite Brady.

  18. I suppose it doesn’t hurt Seth Wickersham to have his name in the news cycle… considering he has a book coming out soon.

    Bottom line is it should be expected that there would be disagreement or internal tension over how best to deal with the Brady/Garrappolo situation– that’s normal. Same goes for the team handling the whole Alex Guerrero thing.

    But it seems, in my opinion, that Wickersham either embellished (or found “sources” willing to do it for him) what was happening to paint a picture of disfunction and internal strife. And while the buzz is about “this is the end!”, Wickerhsam has been adding the caveat that then again, it might not be the end. Basically, he wants to have is cake and eat it too. I think he must have gone to the Dan Shaughnessy school of journalism, where you predict the sky is falling and then say, “but then again, I hope this doesn’t happen.” Either way, you get to pat yourself on the back and say you were right.

  19. Poor Patriot hater getting their hopes up there is trouble in paradise. Why anyone with an ounce of intelligence would believe anything ESPN reports is the main issue. Must be the same posters who still don’t understand 7th grade science! Lots of deflated tires this weekend in the northeast with all the cold temperatures.
    Go Pats!

  20. nhpats says:
    January 6, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    The source is the same guy who claimed 11/12 balls were 2lb under inflated
    ………….
    ESPN retracted that claim and reported that 14 of the 12 balls were 2 lb under inflated.

  21. In other words, these guys are going to split up after this year. Let’s make sure the refs and everyone in the office help them win to go out on top and finish with a fairy tale ending.

    WWE at its finest.

  22. I like Jimmy G a lot, however, how many first-year QBs have been sensational and have done really well their first year or two, and then fell into mdiocricy once, as I perceive, teams have figured them out? I can think of Derek Carr, Matt Cassel, Rg3, Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota. I think the whole hoop la about Jimmy will subside next year. Carson Wentz may experience the same fate.

  23. uggsoversuggs says:
    January 6, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    I like Jimmy G a lot, however, how many first-year QBs have been sensational and have done really well their first year or two, and then fell into mdiocricy once, as I perceive, teams have figured them out? I can think of Derek Carr, Matt Cassel, Rg3, Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota. I think the whole hoop la about Jimmy will subside next year. Carson Wentz may experience the same fate.
    ——————————————
    jimmy G did this with a weak supporting cast in SF. He also has Kyle Shanahan who a lot of people acknowledge as one of the best playcallers in the league.
    I’d say he has a better than even chance of being successful.

  24. Maybe Mr Kraft will only appreciate how lucky he is/was to have Bill Belichick, after he’s gone… Jimmy Garoppolo was shunted off to the 49ers for just a 2nd round Draft pick. If Bill wanted Jimmy to stay as the backup, Kraft should have stayed in the cheese factory and not interfered.

  25. 1historian says:
    “but he’s just not as good as he used to be”

    You do realize you are referring to the likely league MVP for THIS season, after losing his top receiver to injury in the preseason?

  26. The report is complete speculation. And then they say “unnamed sources” and that makes it valid. Fine. Thanks for letting the Patriots know, ONE MORE TIME, that there is an agenda against them and the only way to refute it is to win another Lombardi.

    You don’t know. YOU THINK YOU KNOW, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW.

  27. The pats are paragons of transparency and compliance . Of course Espn has always been unfair to them….all of their reporting is biased and bogus.
    The have always been spot on with obeying league dictates, fairness, and doing what is best for the NFL….of course I would always trust their version of events over Espn.

  28. Of course that is what Kraft would say. He’s not going to admit it. Just like Brady will never admit that he had a scheme going with the New England ball boys to deflate footballs.

  29. These Patriot haters are putting a lit of stock in ESPN reporting. A quick review-

    ‘03 Tom Jackson-“They hate their coach”*
    ‘14 Chris Mortensen- Kansas City- Brady being phased out*
    ‘15 Mortensen again- “ ‘11 of 12 Patriot balls are 2 or more pounds under inflated “*
    WickerSHAM and Van Netta- “Patriot cheating over the years chronicled. We will have substantiation soon”( 2 1/2 Years later-crickets.

    * indicates Patriots winnng Super Bowl that season.

    ‘18 now this unnamed source trash with solid denials from the three principals. Go ahead- keep trusting ESPN haters.

    Now this

  30. n contrast, the ESPN article has no on-the-record sources
    ————

    IKR, a big problem, or at least it should be for any one that cares about journalism. How come then EVERY time I point this out in a Pft article I get scrubbed?

  31. Kraft is the definition of a slimebag. This guy had a 25 year old girlfriend next to him a day after his wife died. He and this joke of an organization are compulsive liars to the extreme. Having been caught and fined multiple times. Why would anyone with a functioning brain believe anything Kraft or anyone from the Patriot organization says

  32. dimi1919 says:
    January 6, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    In other words, these guys are going to split up after this year. Let’s make sure the refs and everyone in the office help them win to go out on top and finish with a fairy tale ending.

    ……
    I could not agree more. Like in the Pittsburgh game where the receiver clearly lost possession of the ball and the refs applied the following rule:
    Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1,” A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.”

    What the refs missed is that this rule does cannot be applied if the Pats are on defense.

  33. uggsoversuggs says:
    January 6, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    I like Jimmy G a lot, however, how many first-year QBs have been sensational and have done really well their first year or two, and then fell into mdiocricy once, as I perceive, teams have figured them out? I can think of Derek Carr, Matt Cassel, Rg3, Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota. I think the whole hoop la about Jimmy will subside next year. Carson Wentz may experience the same fate.
    ——————————————
    jimmy G did this with a weak supporting cast in SF. He also has Kyle Shanahan who a lot of people acknowledge as one of the best playcallers in the league.
    I’d say he has a better than even chance of being successful.
    ——————————————
    A lot of people acknowledge a lot of different things. To qualify as “the best playcaller in the league” one should something substantial to accomplish. Did he help win the Super Bowl last year? “A lot of people” say he ruined it for the Falcons. Did he take the Texans or Redskins or Browns anywhere? I wonder what does one have to do be called the best, go 5-11 at SF?

  34. Everyone who has a brain knows that the source of the leak is Jonathan Kraft! He wants belicheat out so he can take over! any phony pat fan who doesn’t think brady was threatened by a younger and better looking version of himself in Jimmy G is a fool! It happen with Montana and Young and Favre and Rodgers! Only moron pats fans think this espn story is fabricated!

  35. The “writer” of this crap is the same guy that wrote the lies about how Bill B had the CBS Scene big screen put so he could see it from the sideline, which you can’t see from anywhere close to the sideline. The same guy that lied about warm gatorade and that there were spies on the hills over looking the Seahawks practises before the Supee Bowl. Every piece this guy has written has been a hit piece on the Pats.

  36. Alert for flat earth believers and conspiracy buffs:

    1. The dash read out on my truck tire pressure has dropped from 40 psi to 34 psi in this cold spell.

    2. The author of the latest patriot “expose” (Dan Patrick’s word) has demonstrated absolutely no grasp of the above physical reality.

    3. You decide on the credibility of the facts that he reports.

  37. With all the success NE has had for close to two decades, it’s not unreasonable to think that at some point one of the big three is going to feel it’s because of me, not the other two.

    No starting QB likes the #2 guy regardless how good they are, or are not. Same goes for the other ten starting positions.

    I think all 3 believe the Pats wouldn’t have the success they’ve had without said individual. Kraft, it’s my team, my money. Bill, I’m the GM and head coach and call all the shots. Brady, I’m the starting QB that has won the SB five times.

    All three believe if they weren’t there (individually speaking) the success they’ve had wouldn’t have happened.
    It seems strange NE traded Garoppolo when there was no need to.

    Add to this Bill booting Brady’s witch doctor, then weeks later Garoppolo being traded, something weird is happening when all seemed right earlier this year.

    Personally I have no issues with the Pats. I have extended family in Massachusetts (my wife’s side), and it’s not a bad place to visit. NE fans have been spoiled for roughly 20 years with the Pats, Bosox, Bruins, and Celtics winning titles during that span, if memory serves me correct.

    It just seems weird that Garoppolo was traded out of the blue.

  38. ratsfoiledagain says:
    January 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    It seems strange NE traded Garoppolo when there was no need to.
    It just seems weird that Garoppolo was traded out of the blue.
    Personally I have no issues with the Pats. I have extended family in Massachusetts…
    _______________________________________

    Garoppolo was in the last year of his contract and wasn’t interested in sitting behind Brady for another 2+ years when there was franchise money to be made elsewhere, he wasn’t traded ‘out of the blue’ but rather it was a very calculated exchange. Just as they did in keeping Garoppolo after last season the Pats weighed the risk/benefit of moving him and low and behold the deciding factor was of all things the availability of Brian Hoyer. What no one seems to acknowledge is the Niners had something to offer at that point in time that no one else did, a veteran QB that NE was comfortable with as their backup. There’s a very substantial difference between the 43rd pick in the ’18 draft and a pick that would be no higher than the 96th pick in the ’19 draft and could be even lower. Recognizing that and pulling the trigger was quintessential Belichick, your ‘extended family’ could probably help you understand that one.

  39. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    January 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm
    ratsfoiledagain says:
    January 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    It seems strange NE traded Garoppolo when there was no need to.
    It just seems weird that Garoppolo was traded out of the blue.
    Personally I have no issues with the Pats. I have extended family in Massachusetts…
    _______________________________________

    Garoppolo was in the last year of his contract and wasn’t interested in sitting behind Brady for another 2+ years when there was franchise money to be made elsewhere, he wasn’t traded ‘out of the blue’ but rather it was a very calculated exchange. Just as they did in keeping Garoppolo after last season the Pats weighed the risk/benefit of moving him and low and behold the deciding factor was of all things the availability of Brian Hoyer. What no one seems to acknowledge is the Niners had something to offer at that point in time that no one else did, a veteran QB that NE was comfortable with as their backup. There’s a very substantial difference between the 43rd pick in the ’18 draft and a pick that would be no higher than the 96th pick in the ’19 draft and could be even lower. Recognizing that and pulling the trigger was quintessential Belichick, your ‘extended family’ could probably help you understand that one.
    +++++
    I don’t keep up on the inner workings of every franchise. No time, and no desire to do so. Maybe your extended family can help you realize that so you can free up some time for other things.

  40. I’m sensing a lot of disappointment that his whole earth-shaking, curiously-timed “expose” from a previously discredited author has unraveled.

  41. Nothing new here – from back when Tom Jackson stated “they hate their coach” and the team rallied around Belichick to win the Super Bowl, ESPN hasn’t had much credibility – even less so after they helped Goodell cheat by benching Brady because his footballs followed the Laws of Physics

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