Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has called the NFL's punishments for his franchise's alleged role in the Deflategate scandal 'unfair'.
The 243-page Ted Wells report backed up the claims of the Indianapolis Colts that footballs had been deflated by the Patriots before the pair met in last season's AFC Championship game.
In the wake of the Wells report, the NFL has fined the Foxborough franchise $1 million, forced them to forfeit their first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and fourth-rounder in the 2017 draft, and suspended star quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the upcoming season.
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Brady's ban suggests the four-time Super Bowl champion knew about the deflation of the game
balls, but Kraft, speaking for the first time since the league's punishment was announced, stood behind his franchise quarterback.
"I've known Tom 16 years, almost half his life, and he's always been honest with me," Kraft told theMMBQ.com. "I trust him, I believe what he told me."
"He has never lied to me, and I have found no hard or conclusive evidence to the contrary." And, as for the Wells report, well, Kraft does not quite believe its findings.
"This whole thing has been very disturbing," he said. "I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair.
"The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn't fair. If we're giving all the power to the NFL and the office of commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams."
Patriots in trouble
Kraft may well feel hard done by, but the facts are difficult to argue against. In text messages between Patriots employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally, the latter referred to himself as the 'deflator'.
The Pats have since argued that this was because McNally was trying to lose weight, and thus 'deflate'. No one outside of Boston is buying it, though.
The Patriots went on to dramatically beat the Seattle Seahawks in February's Super Bowl, but it is a victory that is becoming more and more tainted with each report surrounding Deflategate.