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Volume 26 No. 178
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Kraft, Patriots Lauded For Delivery Of Masks From China

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said the team's effort to bring over one million N95 masks to the U.S. from China was "probably was the most challenging operation our organization and team ever had to do." Kraft, appearing on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Thursday, said, "There was a lot of red tape but a lot of people cooperated. We had three governors, we had counsel from China, the Tencent people, our crew who flew probably more hours than they should have but they knew how important it was. It's like doing your job and never taking time off when something's really important. The response we've gotten from America when our plane came back (has been positive because) people are looking for good things" ("Anderson Cooper 360," CNN, 4/2).

RAVING LOCAL REVIEWS: In Boston, Tom Keegan writes it is "time to rewrite the greatest moments in Patriots history." Keegan: "Whatever you think of Kraft's football team or his politics ... you have to love that he's all in on his support of a more pressing fight than any Super Bowl" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/3). Also in Boston, Christopher Gasper writes the Patriots "picked up their biggest acquisition of the offseason Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with football." There is "no better professional sports team in supporting its community than the Patriots." Gasper: "The Patriots and the Krafts aren't socially distancing themselves from their civic responsibility. Bravo." They "brought back something much more tangible and important in these unprecedented times." Even the "staunchest critics of the Krafts and haters of the Patriots have to tip their cap or clap their hands" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/3). The BOSTON HERALD's Keegan writes, "Leave it to someone from the NFL to rise above it all and do the right thing." Coronavirus "does not discriminate based on either political party affiliation or geographic boundaries." In "keeping with that spirit, Kraft isn't discriminating either" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/3). 

GRATITUDE FROM NEW YORK: Kraft purchased an additional 300,000 masks for New York state, and in N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro writes Kraft "delivered a deed so special in this frightening and uncertain time of the coronavirus crisis that it should never be forgotten." Whenever Kraft's name is mentioned, the response from any Jets or Giants fan "generally is rooted in derision." However, "everyone associated with New York -- Jets fans or otherwise -- should salute" Kraft. A lot has "happened over the years between Kraft and the Jets," and "none of it friendly." Now, though, "everyone is playing for the same team" (N.Y. POST, 4/3).

SIGHT FOR SORE EYES: ESPN's Scott Van Pelt said seeing the masks arrive "helped us feel a little better." Van Pelt said of the Kraft family, "Good on them" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/2). NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "Just an incredible gesture from the Kraft family" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 4/2). ABC's Amy Robach said the masks arriving in the U.S. was a “welcome sight” (“GMA,” ABC, 4/3). CBS’ Vladimir Duthiers said the Patriots “have come through for doctors and nurses on the front lines of this pandemic.” CBS’ Tony Dokoupil: “I can’t think of a more appropriate word to be emblazoned on the side of that airplane than ‘Patriots’” (“CBS This Morning,” 4/3). PFT’s Mike Florio said Kraft’s effort is the “kind of thing that we all should look to and say, ‘What can we do we?’ We don't have a 767 we can send anywhere to get masks, but maybe there’s something we can do within our own sphere of influence.” Florio said of Kraft, "He’s got the plane at his disposal, he’s got the money to get it done, but he put it into action and it was more than just signing a check” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 4/3).