Robert Kraft: Patriots 'reluctantly' accept 'Deflategate' fine, draft pick penalties

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

The New England Patriots will accept the NFL's punishment for their involvement in the "Deflategate" scandal and will not launch an appeal.

The team was fined $1 million and docked two draft picks after an NFL investigation revealed it's likely team employees and quarterback Tom Brady conspired to doctor footballs ahead of the AFC Championship Game.

"I accept, reluctantly, what (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell) has given to us," team owner Robert Kraft announced Tuesday.

Kraft acknowledged that his decision will likely upset many Patriots fans but indicated he believes he's acting in the best interests of the league.

Kraft opened by saying he believes all parties can agree the scandal has stretched far too long into the offseason.

"I have two options - I can end it or extend it," Kraft said. "At no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the 32."

And so, Kraft will end it. Or, rather, he will "reluctantly" accept his $1 million fine and forfeit a 2016 first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-rounder.

Kraft made no mention of Brady's ongoing suspension appeal, which will lead many to conclude he has been assured by Goodell that Brady's four-game ban will ultimately be reduced - especially in light of a report that Kraft and Goodell were recently spotted hugging and chatting.

That doesn't seem to be the case - not yet, at least. Kraft's decision not to appeal was made without assurance that Brady's penalty will be reduced, according to Greg A. Bedard of Sports Illustrated.

Until Brady's appeal concludes, "Deflategate" will remain in the headlines. Until Brady actually watches the season opener from home, the possibility of the two parties reaching a compromise that reduces his suspension will remain in play.

Robert Kraft: Patriots 'reluctantly' accept 'Deflategate' fine, draft pick penalties
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