Patriots owner Robert Kraft crashed a press conference scheduled for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in Arizona tonight, telling the assembled media "I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing wrong" in response to accusations that they deflated footballs prior to the AFC Championship game. Kraft went on to say that, assuming the NFL finds the same thing, they should apologize to the Patriots, and especially Belichick and Brady.
Kraft's full quote (via NFL.com):
"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 the league would apologize to our entire team and in particular coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure the last week. I am disappointed in the way the entire matter has been handled and reported upon," Kraft said.
While it isn't unexpected to see Kraft stand up for his coach and quarterback, it is perhaps surprising how forcefully he went after the NFL, and by extension his good buddy Roger Goodell. Just today GQ dropped a big feature on Goodell which quoted an NFL executive calling Kraft "the assistant commissioner" because of how powerful he is, and reported that "Kraft was one of Goodell's closest confidants among the NFL's thirty-two owners, and his fiercest advocate and defender."
Now that close confident and assistant commissioner has thrown down the gauntlet, and dared Goodell to come and get him.
Photo via Jim Rogash/Getty