PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed his fellow owners, as well as each of the other 31 NFL coaches today, offering the organization's apology for the "Spygate" saga and its ensuing fallout, which has placed a cloud of suspicion over the Patriots and the NFL.
Kraft's heartfelt oration came this morning at the NFL annual meeting during a special privilege session. Kraft took the floor after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the assemblage regarding the integrity of the game.
The Patriots owner expressed contrition to his colleagues for the Patriots illegally filming the signals of the New York Jets Sept 9, which resulted in a $250,000 fine, the loss of a first-round pick and a $500,000 fine for coach Bill Belichick. Kraft talked about the respect his family has for the NFL, its shield, and what it stands for.
Kraft's address was followed by one from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Colts coach Tony Dungy, who was present for the speeches, did not discuss details out of respect to Kraft. However, he called Kraft's speech "heartfelt."
"I thought it was very, very sincere and heartfelt, and I appreciated what he had to say," said Dungy. "I'll leave it as private; that was the way it was supposed to be."
Colts president Bill Polian, who was not present for either address, said he thought it showed how much class the Kraft family has.
"I think it's a wonderful thing for Mr. Kraft to do," said Polian. "I personally don't think it was necessary, but that's just typical of the kind of class he has.
"I certainly appreciate everything that Mr. Kraft and his family have done for the league. They've made this league a much better league since they've been members of it and certainly from one man's point of view he doesn't need to apologize for anything.
"The New England Patriots have been a bellwether for this league as long as the Kraft family has owned them. They're tough to play against and that's all for the good, but as far as being good citizens in the National Football League they're at the top of the charts."