Patriots not appealing NFL punishment, NFLPA asks Goodell to recuse himself
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is angry about the NFL punishing his franchise, but he has no plans to appeal the discipline.
The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a first-rounder in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2017 for the Deflategate scandal. Quarterback Tom Brady has appealed his four-game suspension.
"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]," Kraft said. "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. At no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the 32."
Brady will continue his appeal.
Meanwhile, the players' union formally asked that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself as the arbitrator in the Brady appeal and appoint a neutral arbitrator.
"I think I made it clear when the [Wells] report came out that I didn't think it was fair," Kraft said. "There was no hard evidence and everything was circumstantial. At the same time, when the discipline came out [from the NFL], I felt it was way over the top as it was unreasonable and unprecedented in my opinion. What I've learned is that the ongoing rhetoric continues to galvanize both camps, and I don't see that changing. They will never agree.
"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."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.