John Mara is standing firmly behind Roger Goodell and his decision to uphold the four-game suspension of Tom Brady.
"The commissioner had a very difficult job to do here," the Giants' president said Thursday. "At the end of the day, I think he made a decision based on the evidence and the facts that were put before him and without regard to the profile of the player or his personal relationship with the owner. That is what he is paid to do. He did his job here, and you can argue about whether it was fair or unfair, but he had to make a very tough decision under very difficult circumstances and he did it. That is what he is paid to do.
"I have been around him enough to know that his intention is always to try and do the right thing," Mara added. "I don't always agree with the decisions that he makes, but I know that he tries to do the right thing. I know this was a very unpleasant situation for him here. You are dealing with the best player in the league, you are dealing with an owner who has been as good as any other owner in the league and somebody that he has a close personal relationship with. He had to make a tough decision."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday that he was wrong to have put his faith in the league and the commissioner to reduce or eliminate Brady's suspension. Mara said he was "saddened" to hear that, but also upset that the issue remains a substantial one more than six months after the AFC Championship Game, which sparked the investigation in the Patriots' use of illegally deflated footballs.
"We went the two weeks going into the Super Bowl, all we talked about was DeflateGate," Mara said. "Now coming into training camp, it is all we are talking about."
The NFLPA's federal lawsuit is keeping it in the headlines.
"It is just going to drag this thing out into the fall," Mara said, "and that is not good for anybody."
This is only the most recent of Goodell's decisions that has wound up going to court.
"I don't recall it ever being that way in prior years," Mara said, "but it seems like we've come to that now. But so be it."