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Robert Kraft: Today’s punishment far exceeded any reasonable expectation

New England Patriots Vs. Green Bay Packers At Lambeau Field

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Back in January, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he would demand an apology from the NFL if they couldn’t prove that anyone from the organization tampered with footballs during the AFC Championship game.

Kraft hasn’t gotten that apology and the punishment handed down by the league on Monday made it clear that none is forthcoming because the league feels that Tom Brady and members of the team’s equipment staff intentionally took air out of footballs in violation of the league’s rules. They fined the team $1 million, stripped them of a pair of draft picks and suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season.

On Monday evening, Kraft released a statement in response to the penalties. The tone suggests that pictures like the one on the right will be few and far between in the years to come and that the Patriots will continue to fight against the findings in Ted Wells’s report.

“Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league. Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence,” the statement reads.

“We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world. We recognize our fans’ concerns regarding the NFL’s penalties and share in their disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled, as well as the dismissal of the scientific evidence supported by the Ideal Gas Law in the final report.”

“Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered.”

It’s probably fair to say that Kraft’s belief in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has wavered significantly from when Kraft stood up in support of Goodell when he came under criticism for his handling of the Ray Rice suspension.