New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement on Thursday afternoon following a federal judge's decision to overturn the four-game suspension given to Tom Brady for his involvement in DeflateGate, an alleged conspiracy to partially deflate footballs used by the team.
"As I have said during the process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity," the statement read. "He represents everything that is great about this game and this league. Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field."
The NFL Players' Association issued a similar statement earlier in the day, thanking Berman for his decision, while the NFL respectfully disagreed and announced plans to appeal.
In July, Kraft blasted the NFL and accused the league of leaking inaccurate reports to ESPN to vilify Brady and the Patriots. He expressed regret for accepting sanctions from the league without an appeal because he thought that by doing so, the NFL would exonerate Brady.
In addition to the four-game suspension given to Brady, the Patriots were fined $1 million and forced to forfeit their first round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
On Tuesday night, Kraft called DeflateGate "the most overblown story in recent NFL history" in a video posted on CSNNE.com.
Following the overturned suspension, Brady is set to make his NFL debut on Thursday, Sept. 10 when the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first regular season game of the year.