New England Patriots

Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to win the 2016 AFC Championship Game. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A freshly released Patriots joint statement reinforces the team’s belief that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft “stand united.” The statement came in response to a new ESPN story that speculates whether this season would be their last together.

The joint statement from Belichick, Brady, and Kraft came out on Twitter on Friday morning. The tweet comes just hours after ESPN’s Seth Wickersham published a detailed new report centered around purported inner turmoil between the team’s “Big 3.”

Wickersham himself joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday and defended the piece, standing by every detail. However, the Patriots joint statement paints a different picture of the story, which contained over a dozen anonymous sources.

Full Patriots Joint Statement

“For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate. The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing in the postseason and the opportunity to work together in the future, just as we have for the past 18 years. It is unfortunate that there is even a need for us to respond to these fallacies. As our actions have shown, we stand united.”

A Patriots joint statement refutes ESPN's controversial new story. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo’s agent, Don Yee, also disputed parts of the report with a brief statement of his own.

Now What?

The debate over the story itself is just beginning, but this statement accomplishes one important thing for the trio. They can point to it in future media engagements without addressing the story or any of its details. Belichick can hammer reporters with “It’s already been addressed.” Brady can say he’s just focused on the Chiefs/Titans/Bills in next Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff. And in the case of Kraft, he can simply reiterate the statement’s main points.

Of course, that won’t stop the discussions moving forward. But in any event, this is likely the only comment you’ll get from any of them on the matter.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff.