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Kraft: Owners, players must be careful not to 'aggravate' fans

Robert Kraft understands that fans are growing frustrated with the NFL lockout, and believes it can -- and must -- be solved.

The Patriots owner, serving as a judge at Sunday's "Science of Sports" science fair at Gillette Stadium, told the *Boston Herald* that owners and players have to be "careful" about how the lockout plays out.

"I think we're coming to that point now, where we start to hurt ourselves collectively in the eyes of our fans," Kraft said. "Because in the end, the fans just want football. They don't want to hear about all this meaningless squabbling. And we have a great business. So we have to sit down with the principals and find a way to solve it."

Kraft stressed that "the problem can be solved. I really believe that.

"We're blessed to have one of the greatest sports businesses in the world right here in America," he said. "And one of my concerns is that we not aggravate our fan base, because ... they don't want to understand whether it's the owners', or the players' (fault). They just want to have football."

Patriots safety Patrick Chung served as a judge alongside Kraft and was permitted in the stadium only because the event was scheduled before the start of the lockout.

"I'd like to see him in the building all the time," Kraft said. "The process doesn't allow us to do that."

Owners and players resumed court-ordered mediation Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, but Kraft downplayed expectations.

"I've learned with litigation, no one wins. The lawyers are winning because they're getting big fees," he told the Herald. "But in the end, it's the essence of the product. We've got a great product. We have to get back to business and find a way to get football going.

"I don't think there's another industry in America that's in the court system," Kraft said. "I always believe you don't solve things through litigation. You solve things by people who have a long-term vested interest in the game, sitting down, and finding ways to build it. ... We have to stop suing one another and get down to business."

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