NEW YORK (CNN)-
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of a locker room attendant and an equipment assistant in the controversy known as “Deflategate,” according to an NFL-commissioned report released Wednesday.
The report found that “it is more probable than not” that the locker room attendant and equipment assistant “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee” at January’s AFC title game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts.
“Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities … involving the release of air from Patriots game balls,” the report, prepared by attorney Ted Wells, said.
The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC title game and went on to win the Super Bowl.
The report absolved other Patriots players and staffers, as well as all coaches, including head coach Bill Belichick, and the team ownership.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was defiant in response, saying he was disappointed in the findings and still believed the team did nothing to violate NFL rules.
Kraft criticized what he called “inferences from circumstantial evidence,” adding that “the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me.”
“To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement,” Kraft said.