NFL investigation on ‘Deflategate’: Patriots probably violated rules with deflated footballs

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(CNN) — An NFL investigative report on accusations that the New England Patriots improperly deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game found that “it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”

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 the NFL report.

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” during January’s AFC title game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday that his organization is very disappointed in the findings. 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.”

The Patriots beat the Colts in the AFC title game and went on to win the Super Bowl.

The report absolved other Patriots players, coaches and staffers as well as the team’s owner.