Robert Kraft has supported Roger Goodell in the past.
But with Goodell’s serious punishment of Kraft’s team, and Kraft’s staunch rebuttal last night, it seems they might not be as close as they once were.
In fact, they may not be close at all.
One unnamed owner (who has now forfeited the right to complain about leaks in his own building), told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report the relationship between the Commissioner and the Patriots owner was “pretty much dead.”
“The main thing [NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent] said is true,” the owner said. “We need to make sure everyone is following the rules. All of us. I think Roger made the right decision and my guess is the rest of the owners agree.”
That doesn’t mean they’re not a little anxious about how this impacts business between Goodell and a man previously identified as one of his biggest supporters.
“Some of us [owners] are waiting a little nervously to see what Robert does next,” he said. “It’s positive that we sent a message that cheating will not be tolerated.
“I do think teams are looking around and saying, ‘What does this all mean?’ Teams are figuring it all out. But I think the bottom line is, don’t cheat, and you don’t have to worry about getting punished.”
That kind of moral certitude is probably popular (or at least easy to sell) in 31 other front offices at the moment, but belies a complicated truth, and a working relationship that might have just been strained beyond the point of repair.