Robert Kraft is waving the white flag. The Patriots owner said that his franchise will accept – and not appeal – the NFLs Deflategate punishment, which was issued last week as a result of the Wells Report.
Kraft’s announcement was a stunning revelation for some, not so much for others.
“I thought that this was the only way for him to go about his business for a lot of reasons,” Comcast SportsNet New England analyst Mike Giardi said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “For starters, I think when you look at the history of litigation (between) owners (and their) league, you see Al Davis and Donald Sterling as the only two to do it. I think Robert Kraft cares about his legacy and I don’t think that’s something he wants put in his football obituary. I also think there was no reversing course here.”
Kraft authored some emotional outbursts in recent weeks, but in the end, the other 31 owners “were not breaking from the family.” Instead, they remained rank and file with the NFL. Kraft didn’t have much of a choice.
Or did he? Even if Kraft couldn’t get the NFL to budge on its punishment, what about fighting for the fans, for the people who support your franchise, for the people who have been digging in their heels for the past several months defending you?
“A lot of people feel like he sold them out – that he talked about scorching earth and taking this as far as he could take it,” Giardi said. “And then by surrendering today, (people wonder), ‘Why were we defending you for this time? Why were we digging in and thinking, Well, it doesn’t matter even if we lose, at least we’re taking it to them and we’re going to try to put holes in their theories here. Why did you release the wellsreportcontext.com? What was all that about?
“Well, it was all about courting public opinion,” Giardi continued, “and then to some degree courting ownership opinion. Maybe they got public opinion around here to be on their side, which, it’s always been on their side. But the owners weren’t budging.”
Damon Amendolara wondered if Kraft now thinks it was a bad idea to launch the website.
“I’m not sure he would go back on that,” Giardi said. “In fact, I thought that was another sign that he wasn’t going to pursue this to the ends of the earth – that he was going to put this out there, we’re punching holes in all your theories, and we want the public to know. And that’s where it’s going to end because we’re not going to be able to get it beyond that.”
Plus, as Giardi pointed out, the website attacked the Wells Report process more than the Wells Report findings.
“It was almost as if that was their whole thing,” Giardi said. “Well, the process was skewed, the process was messed up, but we’re not necessarily sure we didn’t do something wrong. We can’t necessarily prove to you that we didn’t do something, that something didn’t happen to the ball. I don’t think they would go back and change that. I just think it is what it is. It was out there to get more people on their side and to take some shots publicly at the NFL because (Kraft) knew he wasn’t going to be able tot take shots beyond that when it comes to going to court – because he had no plans on going there.”