BOSTON (CBS) — Robert Kraft is ending his fight with the NFL.
“I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months,” Kraft said Tuesday in San Francisco. “I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what [NFL commissioner Roger Goodell] has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. And we won’t appeal.”READ MORE: Suit Alleges Company Sold Bogus Hand Sanitizer To Massachusetts Schools
Kraft spoke only of the team’s decision, and did not address whether quarterback Tom Brady would continue his own fight to appeal his four-game suspension. However, shortly after Kraft finished speaking, NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah tweeted that Brady will continue his appeal.
The Patriots were fined $1 million and penalized a first-round draft pick (2016_ and a fourth-round draft pick (2017) after the NFL-commissioned Wells report deemed them to have acted improperly and failed to cooperate with the investigation.
“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision,” Kraft said. “But I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel that at this point in time, that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL. And I hope you all can respect that.”
Kraft’s meeting with the media on Tuesday was supposed to be an informal gathering in the lobby of the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton, but due to the overwhelming level of attention it was moved to the podium, where it could be broadcast live around the country.
Kraft and Goodell were reported to have held a cordial conversation prior to the start of the NFL’s spring owners meetings. That news came a day after Peter King published a story in which Kraft would not speak of his relationship with the commissioner.
“You’ll have to ask him,” Kraft told King when asked Goodell about the owner’s relationship with the commissioner on Saturday.READ MORE: Celtics' Enes Freedom Calls Becoming U.S. Citizen 'Most Unforgettable Moment'
On Monday night, Adam Schefter reported that “back channel” discussions had begun between the Patriots and the league in an effort to negotiate the punishment levied last week.
Kraft spoke Tuesday from the heart, harkening back to his very first NFL owners meeting 21 years ago in Orlando, Fla.
“So here’s a fan, and a former season ticket holder, living a dream and being welcomed in that room,” Kraft recalled. “And I got goosebumps that day, and I vowed at that time that I would do everything I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team, and hopefully respected throughout the country, and at the same time, do whatever I could do to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.
“The heart and soul of the NFL is the partnership of the 32 teams,” Kraft added. “What’s become clear over those two decades is that at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the 32. So I have a way of looking at problems that are very strong in my mind, and before I make a final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once. And I think maybe if I had made the decision last week, it’d be different than it is today.”
Kraft said that while he disagrees with Goodell’s decision, he ultimately believes in the adjudication process and the commissioner.
Kraft also credited Patriots fans who “have been so supportive and inspirational to us.”MORE NEWS: Loyal Customers Say Goodbye To Beloved Muffin Shop In Weymouth
“I think I made it clear when the report came out that I didn’t think it was fair. There was no hard evidence, and everything was circumstantial. And at the same time, when the discipline came out, I felt it was way over the top, as it was unreasonable and unprecedented, in my opinion. So I have two options: I can try to end it or extend it. And I have given a lot of thought to both options,” Kraft said.