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Robert Kraft says DeflateGate punishment 'far exceeded any reasonable expectation'

The Patriots owner isn't ready to accept the punishments over DeflateGate.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft condemned the punishment handed down by the league to the team and quarterback Tom Brady on Monday. In a statement, Kraft said that it was originally his intention to accept any discipline handed down by the league, but that the league "far exceeded any reasonable expectation."

The league fined the team $1 million, docked it a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 and suspended Brady for the first four games of the coming season. The league's investigation into the "DeflateGate" incident concluded that the Patriots illegally deflated footballs during the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

"Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league," Kraft said. "Today's punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence."

Kraft went on to thank the fans for support, and said that he shares with them in their "disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled, as well as the dismissal of the scientific evidence supported by the Ideal Gas Law in the final report."

Given the statement, it's fairly clear that the Patriots will appeal the decision in some form. It was reported that the Patriots would accept a reasonable punishment, but that Brady was always going to appeal any kind of suspension handed down to him. The Wells report could not prove conclusively that the footballs were deflated by order of Brady, but did conclude that there was enough evidence supporting the thought that Brady was aware the violations were occurring.

The statement finishes with Kraft saying the organization offers Brady its "unconditional support," and that their "belief in him has not wavered." Barring a successful appeal, the Patriots will be without Brady for five weeks (four games and a bye), including games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys.