PALM BEACH, Fla., – Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft drew a large media crowd at The Breakers, and spoke strongly when asked about the lingering issue of the team’s videotaping procedures.
“A newspaper made a damaging allegation about the so-called Matt Walsh affair. I believe it’s something that never happened,” Kraft said. “If so, why wouldn’t -- two months later – anything have come out? But we live in a society where people can make any kind of allegations. But then, it has to be substantiated.”
Lawyers for the NFL and Walsh continue to work toward a resolution. Kraft was asked how important it is to him that a resolution is reached so there can be closure to the issue.
“I’m looking forward to him speaking, and hopefully cleaning this up and completely exonerating us,” Kraft said. “It’s kind of strange that six or seven years after … I know ourselves and the NFL have done everything we can do to help his lawyers have him speak.
“But he never signed any confidentiality statement with us, so as far as I’m concerned, I don’t know why he doesn’t just come out and speak.”
The possibility of Walsh never speaking was presented to Kraft. Would Kraft and the Patriots feel comfortable moving forward if that was the case?
“We’ve moved forward,” Kraft said. “When anyone attacks you, as an individual … Anyone in this world of 24-hour-a-day media, seven days a week, can attack anything. But it’s about substantiation. Allegations were made and why it took five, six years to come out, and then two months after it’s come out, there is nothing … you folks decide why that hasn’t happened."
Kraft, who said he did not remember Walsh, spoke for about 10 minutes and the first question directed to him was about the team’s videotaping procedures.
Kraft responded by saying: “We just finished a season where we went 16 games, having the first perfect season. I step back and we broke a rule the first week of the season and we were penalized very heavily for that, and had one of the most amazing … we won 18 games in a row. A day or two before the Super Bowl, a damaging allegation came out that seven weeks later, there has been no confirmation. So, to me, we’re way beyond that.
“As I reflect back on this season, I think years from now – and I know our fans feel this way – they’ll relish this season and realize how remarkable it was. It’s something we’re pretty proud of. We’re sorry it didn’t end the way we wanted to, but it was pretty remarkable.”
Kraft did acknowledge that he is not over the Super Bowl loss at this point. He also answered a question on whether he feels the franchise's previous three Super Bowls were tainted in any way.
“I think we’ve covered the subject. We broke a rule the first week of the season, we were penalized very heavily, and look what happened after that game," he said. "To me, that says more than anything."