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US President Barack Obama teases New England Patriots over 'deflategate' scandal

Washington: National Football League (NFL) champions the New England Patriots got a barbed welcome to the White House, with President Barack Obama teasing the team about the 'deflategate' scandal.

Barack Obama holds a football presented to him by NFL champs New England Patriots at the White House in Washington DC. PIC/AFP
Barack Obama holds a football presented to him by NFL champs New England Patriots at the White House in Washington DC. Pic/AFP

The Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in a thrilling Super Bowl 49 in February to capture their fourth National Football League crown. But the season was tarnished by allegations that the team inflated footballs improperly in the playoffs to aid receivers.

Controversial football
Deflategate is a controversy in the NFL, coming from an allegation that Patriots used underinflated footballs in the American Football Conerene (AFC) championship game against Indianapolis Colts in January. It has also referred to as ‘Ballghazi’.

“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events, but with the Patriots in town, I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat,” Obama joked. The jibe prompted groans from the players and a light-hearted thumbs-down from coach Bill Belichick.

“All right, all right, all right,” Obama said. “That whole story got blown a little out of proportion.” Belichick, renowned for his casual dress sense and trademark hoodie, also came in for a bit of Obama’s wry humor. “I’m particularly grateful that coach decided to dress up today,” Obama said. “We had some scissors if he wanted to cut the sleeves off.”

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