It was relatively quiet around Foxboro as the Patriots entered their annual first-round playoff bye. Then, ESPN’s, Seth Wickersham, dropped a “bombshell” story detailing the crumbling of the Patriots hierarchy. According to the story, the relationship between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft has become so toxic that many feel this could be the final year for the trio together in New England. Much of it surrounded the relationship between the team, Brady, and his personal guru, Alex Guerrero.
Well, predictably, it didn’t take long for many Boston media members and the Patriots themselves to refute many aspects of the story. The Patriots, on behalf of Brady, Belichick, and Kraft released a statement highlighting many inaccuracies and exaggerations. Now, Kraft has spoken out on the issue to the MMQB’s Peter King. Many aspects of the story were refuted by Kraft, in particular, the idea that he forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo and Brady forced the trade.
“Until Monday at the trade deadline, I believe that was Oct. 30, the last time I talked to Bill about Jimmy’s situation was in a group with Bill, Jonathan, Nick Caserio,” Kraft told the MMQB. “A small group of us, I think in June. That is the last time I talked to Bill about it. I would see Nick occasionally and say, ‘Anything going on?’”
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“I assumed once the season started, we’d talk again at the end of the season about it,” Kraft added. “The next time I spoke with Bill about it was the Monday before the trade deadline. He called me on that Monday and said he got a deal with San Francisco, Jimmy for a second-round pick… Bill asked me if I was OK with this. I was really taken aback a little bit and I wanted to think about it. I talked to Jonathan, who was okay with it, and I called Bill back and said, ‘OK.’”
In addition, Kraft claimed that the reported meeting that lasted half a day was a complete “fabrication”. He added that there is no truth to the idea that he would ever let Belichick walk or be traded. Despite the retort from Kraft, Wickersham stands by his story, according to King.
Wickersham is no stranger to spotty investigative journalism. Often taking small details and drawing inaccurate conclusions to form a narrative. Last year Wickersham, along with Don Van Natta, wrote an expose on the NFL’s relationship with the Patriots, ‘From Spygate to Deflategate’. Again, it drew inaccurate conclusions and offered unsubstantiated claims, painting the Patriots in a bad light.
Earlier in the year, an inside story about the Seahawks was criticized heavily by many members of the Seahawks for being incredibly inaccurate. In that case, Wickersham claimed that people with close ties to the organization said he “nailed it” in response to the Seahawks criticism. Yesterday on Boston’s WEEI, he claimed something similar. Wickersham stated that the same journalists poking holes in his story were direct messaging him telling him he “nailed it”.
All things considered, don’t expect this to distract the Patriots. In fact, if there is one thing we know about the Patriots, this will likely drive them to yet another Super Bowl title. Not bad for a team in shambles.