Watch CBS News

Peter King: Robert Kraft 'Will Go Rogue On This' And Take NFL To Court

BOSTON (CBS) - Sports Illustrated senior writer and MMQB staff writer Peter King thought the NFL's punishment for DeflateGate was harsh.

"I thought it was a little bit of a sledgehammer killing an ant," he told CBS This Morning on Tuesday.

The NFL suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady without pay for the first four games of the season, fined the team $1 million and took away the Patriots first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 for deflating footballs before the AFC Championship game in January.

"In the Ted Wells report, there is the acknowledgement that, yeah, we find fault with Brady, we find fault with these two club employees, but everybody connected with the Patriots was cleared and that's why I thought that the – especially the two draft choices – the money is the money, but the two draft choices, that's harsh," King said.

Peter King
Peter King. (Image credit: CBS This Morning)

"31 other owners were watching this. I think a lot of other owners in the NFL have felt for a long time that the Patriots enjoy 'Most Favored Nation' status in the league and this was an attempt not only to try to, on the NFL's behalf, try to get it right in terms of fair play, but try to say, 'we play no favorites.'"

In a statement after the Wells report was released May 6, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, "We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league."

He sounded more defiant in a statement released Monday night after the punishment was announced, saying, "Today's punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence."

"I think when Bob Kraft went to bed last night, he went to bed a guy who was carefully weighing his options. I don't think he's made any decision right now about whether he will appeal," King told CBS.

"My bet is that he will go rogue on this and my bet is that he will try to appeal this penalty in a court of law. There's no way that he can appeal this as an owner, because owners just have to take the sanctions that the league sends down. He'd have to go outside the league."

King also believes Brady won't be out all four games to start the season.

"I think the suspension of Brady is probably going to be changed. He could win and it could be eliminated all together or it could just be reduced," he said.

However, if Brady appeals, he would likely have to produce evidence, like the phone records he refused to hand over to Wells Report investigators.

"There's no question that if this ever gets into a larger court and away from the auspices of the NFL that the NFL, I'm certain, would push for him to produce his cell phone and to just say, 'Hey listen, if you've got nothing to hide, show us your phone.'"

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.