Patriots owner Kraft issues statement

New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued the following statement on Friday regarding the penalties against the Patriots:

"This has been an extremely difficult week for our organization. The most troubling part for me, personally, is the impact these actions have had on our fans. We have spent the last 14 years developing and building a franchise that people could embrace and support. The loyalty of our fans has been the most rewarding aspect of owning the team. I am deeply disappointed that the embarrassing events of this past week may cause some people to see our team in a different light.

"After reviewing the facts of the past weekend, the commissioner has made a determination that our franchise engaged in activities that violate the league's rules. He has determined the punishment and I accept it.

"I believe that Coach Belichick always tries to do what is best for the team and he is always accountable for his decisions. He has been a very important part of what our organization has accomplished over the last seven years. In this case, one of his decisions has resulted in a severe penalty for our franchise. He has paid a heavy price and so has our organization. He has apologized for his actions. I accept his apology and look forward to working with him as we move forward.

"It has been a distinct privilege to be involved in the National Football League since 1994. I am passionate about the league because it represents the ultimate in competition. To this end, the integrity of the game and competition between the 32 teams is of paramount importance to me. Whenever the commissioner believes that the integrity of the league's competition is compromised, he must act decisively to protect it.

"In addition to our fans, I also feel for our players. I know how hard our players work and prepare for every game and their accomplishments speak for themselves. I look forward to returning all of our focus and energy to the field."

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