Patriots accept punishment

The Super Bowl winners were fined a record $1m and docked two draft picks for deliberately deflating footballs used in their AFC play-off victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Patriots owner fiercely defended his franchise in the face of the NFL-commissioned report??and subsequent sanctions, which also included a four-game ban for star quarterback Tom Brady.

But Kraft has now ruled out an appeal in the interests of “the Patriots, our fans and the NFL”.

He said: “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept reluctantly what (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) has given to us. We won’t appeal.

“When the report came out I didn’t think it was fair – there was no hard evidence and everything was circumstantial, and at the same time when the discipline came out I felt it was way over the top.

“I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda is the best thing for the Patriots, our fans and the NFL. I hope you all can respect that.”

Brady’s ongoing appeal against his suspension??is unaffected by Kraft’s announcement.