New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his first public appearance since a report was released on Wednesday implicating him in the "DeflateGate" incident. He was interviewed by sportscaster Jim Gray during a previously scheduled event at Salem State University on Thursday.
"I don't have really any reaction. Our owner commented on it yesterday. It's only been 30 hours," Brady said via a live NFL Network broadcast of the event. "I haven't had much time to digest it fully. But when I do, I'll be sure to let you know how I feel about it."
When pressed for more details, he remained coy.
"Hopefully soon. There's still a process that's going forth right now," he added. "Whenever it happens, it happens." Next, Gray, who interviews Brady on a regular basis during the NFL season during radio broadcasts of Monday Night Football games, asked him if he felt the Super Bowl was tainted as a result of the report's findings.
"Absolutely not," he said emphatically. "Because we earned and achieved everything that we got this year as a team. I'm very proud of that and our fans should be, too."
The crowd was clearly on his side, as chants of "M-V-P!" rang through the auditorium. The audience booed any time he was implicated in the questioning and cheered whenever his Super Bowl exploits were mentioned at the sold-out event.
The report found that Brady was at least "generally" aware that footballs he was using in the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts were not inflated properly. There were two Patriots employees who were named in the report for likely deflating the footballs deliberately.
The report comes from Ted Wells, who has been investigating the incident for the NFL. Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he was disappointed, citing a lack of "incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs."
Brady's agent released a statement on Thursday in which he was similarly critical of the report, suggesting that Brady and the Patriots were more than cooperative, but inferred that the league was always looking for this result. He indicated the league "cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation."
The Super Bowl MVP refused to provide emails, texts or other electronic communications to the investigation. Whether Brady will face punishment from the league for his involvement is still up in the air.