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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft exits Viacom board

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft exits Viacom board
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, pictured here on Friday, resigned from the Viacom board of directors this week. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Robert Kraft -- the owner of the New England Patriots, who has been embroiled in a controversy with the NFL over the Deflategate scandal --  has stepped down from Viacom's board of directors.

Kraft resigned from the media company's board on Wednesday.

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"Robert K. Kraft notified the board of directors of Viacom Inc. that he was stepping down from the board ... noting that his obligations elsewhere had increased to the extent that he no longer felt capable of fulfilling his duties as a member of the board," Viacom said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Viacom did not elaborate. A Viacom spokesman was not immediately available for comment late Friday.

Kraft and the Patriot's star quarterback, Tom Brady, have been at odds with the National Football League and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over the investigation and fallout from the scandal.

The furor that began Jan. 18 when the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in a lopsided AFC Championship game. The Colts told the league that they suspected that Brady was using underinflated footballs.

Brady was suspended for four games for his alleged role, and Goodell upheld Brady's suspension. The Patriots were fined $1 million and forfeited a first-round draft choice in 2016.

"I was wrong to put my faith in the league," Kraft said last week. He told New England sports fans that he should have challenged the penalties that had been slapped on the team earlier this year.

Although Viacom does not have a relationship with the NFL, its corporate sibling, CBS Corp., holds valuable NFL rights. Those rights include broadcasting regular season Sunday AFC games and sharing the "Thursday Night Football" package with the NFL Network.

Both CBS and Viacom are controlled by media mogul Sumner Redstone.

Kraft has been a member of the Viacom board for nearly a decade.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT

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