In a very surprising turn of events, the New England Patriots will no longer appeal the unprecedented penalty and fine levied on the team in the wake of ‘Deflategate’.
Per reports, Kraft spoke with the media following the NFL team owners meeting, saying “Although I might disagree what is decided, I do have respect for [commissioner Roger Goodell] and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of [all 32 teams]… so in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months… I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won’t appeal.”
As previously reported, the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked two draft picks— a first-rounder in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2017— by the NFL after an independent investigator reported that it was:
- “More probable than not” Patriots personnel “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee”
- “More than probable” Patriots QB Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” involving the release of air from the balls
Continuing on to the media yesterday, Kraft said “What I’ve learned over the last 21 years is the heart and soul and strength of the NFL is the partnership of 32 team.” In an acknowledgement that the longer this episode plays out, the more likely he is to divide fans, he offered that “I know a lot of Patriot fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel, at this point in time, that taking this off the agenda is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL.”
While Kraft has dropped his appeal, Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and his agent have not – still awaiting an audience to appeal the league’s decision to suspend Brady for 4 games next season, which was confirmed via Twitter by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Robert Kraft says Patriots will not appeal discipline against his team, reluctantly. Tom Brady’s appeal of his 4-game suspension will go on.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 19, 2015
Other news taking place during Tuesday’s NFL Spring League meeting, includes a 30-2 vote on the Competition Committee’s proposal on extra points for the 2015 season.
“The NFL announced the extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line,” according to reports. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns.
According to the rule change, if the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown (i.e. on an interception), they will be awarded two points. Under the previous rule the ball was dead on a failed try.”