In a prepared statement Monday night, Patriots owner Robert Kraft criticized how the NFL’s investigation of allegations of under-inflated footballs has proceeded and offered a strong defense of his franchise, most specifically coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
In one of his strongest remarks, Kraft said the NFL would owe Belichick and Brady apologies if its probe did not find wrongdoing committed by New England.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitely 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 have had to endure this past week,” Kraft said Monday night.
Of Brady and Belichick, Kraft said: “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.”
In his statement, Kraft held that the Patriots’ integrity had been unfairly questioned because of “public discourse which has been driven by media leaks.”
Said Kraft: “I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Patriots’ owner reportedly said he was sure his team had not done anything wrong.
“I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate,” Kraft said, according to the Boston Globe.
Kraft did not take questions afterwards, leaving Belichick and Brady next to take the podium as the Patriots collectively channel their energies towards Sunday’s Super Bowl vs. Seattle.