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.