PORTLAND, Maine — Speaking to reporters after his speech at the Maine Real Estate and Development Association on Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage stated his low opinion of the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots football team.
The National Football League determined this week that 11 out of the Patriots’ 12 game balls were deflated below league standards during the team’s 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday night’s conference championship game. The revelation has fueled a scandal, with critics arguing the softer footballs gave New England an advantage in the cold, wet weather.
LePage told reporters on Thursday he considers the Patriots “less than ethical.”
“Let me tell you this, Bob Kraft, he was less than ethical to the state of Connecticut. Belichick was less than ethical to the New York Jets. He was certainly unethical when they took photographs from the sidelines, stealing signals,” he said when asked about the so-called “Deflategate.” “What else are you going to expect? They have a track record.”
In 1998, Patriots owner Robert Kraft agreed to move the team across state lines to Hartford, Connecticut, where hundreds of millions of dollars were to be used for a new stadium. Less than a year later, Kraft backed out of the deal after Massachusetts promised infrastructure improvements and help building a new stadium in the team’s historic home of Foxborough.
Belichick was the heir apparent to longtime mentor Bill Parcells as head coach of the New York Jets in 1999, but resigned after one day as the coach of the team, and instead took the top job with rival New England, where he’s worked ever since.
And of course, in 2007, the Patriots were found guilty of videotaping sideline signals used by Jets coaches in a regular-season game.
The scandal, which has since been popularly referred to as “Spygate,” caused the NFL to fine the team and coach, and force the Patriots to give up their first-round draft pick the following year.