The New England Patriots will not attempt to recover future draft picks and money the team lost through disciplinary measures taken by the NFL in the so-called Deflategate saga, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Twitter Friday. The news comes one day after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled to vacate the four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in the purported plot to deflate footballs to gain a competitive advantage in last season's AFC Championship game.
The NFL took two draft picks, a 2016 first-rounder and a 2017 fourth-rounder, from the Patriots as punishment for the supposed scheme. The Pats were also fined $1 million. Patriots' owner Robert Kraft accepted the punishment when it was handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell down in May, saying that he was putting the league's interests over those of his team.
Patriots do not intend to try to recoup the 1st- and 4th-round draft pick losses and $1 million that NFL took from them in Deflategate case.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 4, 2015
"Although I might disagree what is decided, I do have respect for [Goodell] and believe that he's doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of [all 32 teams]," Kraft said at the time, according to ESPN. "So in that spirit, I don't want to continue the rhetoric that's gone on for the last four months.
"I'm going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won't appeal," Kraft said.
Many speculated at the time that Kraft and the Patriots accepted the punishment in hopes that Goodell would reduce the discipline levied against Brady, but the NFL said the situations were not linked. Goodell, who acted as arbitrator in Brady's initial appeal of his four-game suspension, decided in late July to uphold the punishment, citing the quarterback's lack of cooperation during the investigation. After Goodell upheld the suspension, Kraft's tone changed.
"I was wrong to put my faith in the league," Kraft said after Brady's appeal hearing, according to CBS Sports. "Given the facts, evidence and laws of science that underscored this entire situation, it is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players for whom I have the upmost respect. This is personally very disappointing to me."
Judge Berman said Thursday in his decision that vacated the suspension that Goodell was not a proper arbitrator in the appeal, saying the commissioner issued "his own brand of industrial justice." Berman cited three primary factors in his decision: that Brady did not receive notice he could receive be suspended for general awareness of the supposed scheme; that the NFL's general counsel Jeff Pash was not made available as a witness; and that files were not made available to the quarterback.