One of the three Patriots fans taking heat on social media for posing with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believes the incident was an "NFL PR stunt" designed to make it look like fans were "welcoming Goodell back to New England."
The man, named Josh, did not want to go on camera. But he tells NBC Boston he and his friends had been sitting up in Section 300 and decided to move closer in the second quarter. When they were approaching, he says they saw five men and two women, and one started talking to them.
It was not until after they began chatting that the group of friends realized one of the men was Goodell, Josh says. Another man, Brian McCarthy, whose Twitter handle is "@NFLprguy," asked if they wanted a picture with the commissioner, according to Josh. They agreed.
By the time they got down to the field, Josh says McCarthy had already tweeted the photo and that it was sparking a lot of negative comments.
"Anybody would have done the same thing," Josh said, explaining that the friends were "easy targets just enjoying the game" and politely obliged to take a photo.
Josh says he has "no bad feelings against Goodell," opining that the Deflategate saga is water under the bridge after the Patriots' latest Super Bowl victory.