Tom Brady and the New England Patriots' Super Bowl victory is not "tainted" despite an NFL report that found he was "generally aware" team staffers deflated game footballs during the AFC Championship, the quarterback said during his first public appearance since the findings were released.
"We earned and achieved everything we got as a team, and we're pretty proud of that," Brady said Thursday at Salem State University.
The four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback declined to address the report any further during his sit-down with sportscaster Jim Gray.
"It's only been 30 hours, so I haven't had time to digest it fully, but when I do, I'll let you know how I feel about it," Brady said.
"Are you that slow a reader?" Gray asked.
"I'm used to reading X's and O's — this was a bit longer," Brady replied.
The NFL report, released Wednesday, found that it was "unlikely that an equipment assistant and a locker room attendant would deflate game balls without Brady's knowledge and approval."
Text messages between team personnel seemed to show they were following orders from Brady.
The crowd at Salem State University, however, seemed generally friendly to Brady as he walked to the stage, and even booed at times when Gray asked about the NFL report.
"I'm very fortunate to have many people that love me and support me," Brady said. "Life is full of ups and downs, and I accept my role and responsibility as a public figure."
Although he added later: “There’s a lot of people that don’t like Tom Brady, and I’m okay with that.”
When Gray asked if the Super Bowl win was tainted by the allegations in the report, Brady responded, "Absolutely not."
Speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper after the event, Brady's agent, Don Yee, was also asked if the quarterback had any knowledge of the deflating. Yee's response: "No."
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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