BOSTON (CBS) — New England Patriots president Jonathan Kraft joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Radio Row on Thursday, tackling nearly every topic you could imagine.
It just took a little time to get to the one topic he really wanted to discuss: Super Bowl LI.
As things tend to do on Felger & Mazz, it got a little contentious at times. Badgered with questions about the DeflateGate saga, Kraft said it’s been put to bed, and there’s only one thing that matters at this point.
“The way this whole thing gets dealt with is by winning the game on Sunday. That’s the ultimate end game for our organization,” he said. “You know how we feel about what happened. For us, everything culminates on Sunday. We have a chance to be world champions two of the last three years, and that’s what matters to us. Period.”
Kraft wouldn’t say if he supports commissioner Roger Goodell, but maintained that he believes Goodell received bad advice throughout DeflateGate.
“I think we’ve been 100 percent clear that what took place at the AFC Championship Game two years ago in our opinion and estimation, from the moment it started and ended, was wrong. It was much to do about nothing and wasn’t handled well. Roger didn’t get good advice,” he said. “That’s our opinion. It’s done. We are back in the Super Bowl.”
Kraft said that The Wells Report in Context will remain online, and no one in the NFL has expressed any disdain towards the website.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to come down. Tom Brady, what he has accomplished, is unparalleled. People could talk about his legacy and it could be tainted by that situation,” he said. “That thing will be up forever, but it’s more for historical perspective.”
The conversation moved on to President Donald Trump, who Kraft said has been a great friend to his family for many years. While they do not agree with him on all issues, Kraft said they do support the new president.
“He’s been a great friend for a long time and we don’t shy away from that. He’s been a great personal family friend for a long time, but we’ve never looked to publicize politics related to a football team, which is what you’re trying to do,” he said to Felger. “The great thing about America is when people come together around sport, all the differences that exist in a heterogeneous society sort of melt away. You root for your team and people come together; that’s what sport is about. When you discuss politics, I have a lot of friends on different sides of issues. That’s what happens.
“I’m on different sides of issues with Donald Trump, but he’s still a friend and someone I support. He’s our president,” said Kraft.
Kraft doesn’t believe that their relationship with Trump has cost the team any supporters or caused any sort of backlash. Kraft doesn’t recall giving Tom Brady a “Make America Great Again” hat to put in his locker, which has been the basis for so much controversy for over a year.
“That was in the locker over a year ago, and if Tom said it, I must have done it. But I don’t recall,” said Kraft. “Donald Trump, as I said, is a friend and there are many issues I don’t agree with him on, including a woman’s right to choose. My wife and I are big-time supporters of planned parenthood, and I have friends who disagree with me. But that doesn’t mean you can support someone if you disagree with them on something. That’s an example of that.
“I think Tom is a great friend of Donald’s whether there is a hat in his locker or not.”
Kraft said he would have attended New England’s White House visit two years ago when Barack Obama was in office, but he was recovering from hip surgery he had just a week prior.
“Absolutely I would have gone. I would have gone if it was someone I voted for or didn’t vote for,” he said. “If your team wins a championship, I would never think of making a political statement. I would absolutely never do that.”
However, he does not have any issues with tight end Martellus Bennett saying earlier this week that he may not attend a White House visit if the Patriots win Sunday’s Super Bowl LI over the Atlanta Falcons.
“America is America. Marty is a very smart and thoughtful guy. If that’s his opinion, whether I would do it or not, I respect Marty,” he said. “That’s his decision and opinion.”
There was some actual football discussed during Kraft’s nearly 40 minutes on the show. He was asked about a Washington Post story that said owner Robert Kraft knows when Bill Belichick is going to retire, but the two have a pact not to discuss that decision.
Jonathan said he too is privy to that information, but it’s not something he’s talking about.
“We have a pact, we’re not talking about it. Lets talk about the game,” he said.
Kraft discussed the feeling the team has ahead of a Super Bowl, the future of Rob Gronkowski, and hit on many other topics. Listen to the full interview: