J. Kraft on Brady, season ticket holders & pay cuts

After a day of meetings, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft found himself in yet another meeting, this one with media members.

Off the top, Kraft stressed that his father Robert is doing fine, but is dealing with something else that the family wants to keep private.

Here are some highlights:

On whether it’s awkward to have Tom Brady’s name prominent on the players’ lawsuit against the league
Look, on a personal level, myself and I think every member of my family feels extremely close to Tom. I’d like to think Tom was conflicted before he made that decision, but you’d have to talk to Tom about it. He obviously feels like, I guess, he made a business decision that was the right thing for him. I’d like to think he was conflicted in making it, but I don’t know.

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Were you surprised he ultimately made that decision?
I haven’t talked to him about it. He didn’t consult me when he was making it (laughed).

On whether New England will cut the salaries of assistant coaches and other employees as some teams have done
Right now we’re focused on getting ready, we believe there’s going to be a season in 2011 so our full complement of organizational staff is working full time under normal terms and conditions and we’re going to keep working that way for the foreseeable future.

On the complaints of season ticket holders who must renew their tickets by March 31 despite the lockout:
I appreciate and understand their feelings. We always have had March 31 as our deadline since we moved to Gillette. We believe there is going to be a season in 2011. And in order to get the renewal process done and then to handle the upgrades as well as moving people off the season-ticket waiting list, and then print the tickets that are personalized by accounts, and to have it in people’s hands by the beginning of July, we actually needed to stay with that date. It’s not something where you can just decide in the middle of August, ‘Oh, we’re going to have a season’ and send out an invoice. It would be physically impossible to process all of it. So, we’re going to stick with our traditional schedule. And if games aren’t played, the game moneys are going to be refunded and they’re going to be refunded with interest.

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On his father being overseas during the last week of mediated negotiations and Matt Light’s statement that he was “disappointed” Robert Kraft wasn’t present
I respect Matt and I appreciate Matt’s comments. We do a lot of things other than just the New England Patriots. Something that’s particularly important to Robert is the economy and job creation for (people in all industries) across the Commonwealth. This is a trade mission that had been worked on for a long time. Israel is a real center of high tech and a lot of Israeli companies are choosing to pick Massachusetts as their corporate headquarters and this was about solidifying that and have more companies be comfortable coming to Massachusetts and create jobs in Massachusetts. It was something he’d personally been working on a long time and he wasn’t going to give that up. He helped put the whole thing together and it was something very personal for him. That being said, he didn’t miss a call, he didn’t miss an email and he was up to all hours of the night. He was intimately involved with what was going on.

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