Tom Brady was on the hot seat Thursday night, appearing before an adoring crowd that cheered when he declared the Patriots' Super Bowl wins untainted by Deflategate.

He would not comment on the scandal itself - that the team, and he especially - knew someone had tampered with the quarterback's balls and let out some air, making them easier to handle.

But when asked if the investigation's findings - that the deflations were deliberate and that  it "is more than probable" Brady knew about it - would diminish the Patriots' standing, he was emphatic.

"Absolutely not," he declared before the crowd at Salem State Universirty in his first public appearance since the release of the Wells report.

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"We earned everything we got and achieved as a team, and I am proud of that and so are our fans.

And the throngs cheered.

Brady was being interviewed by sports newsman Jim Gray for an event that was sold out long before DeflateGate returned to the front pages.

The event, by the way, was focused on "leadership" and Brady arrived by helicopter, the AP reports.

A video of the event was posted by WPRI.com and other outlets.

"There's an elephant in the room," Gray said, after saying he wouldn't spend too much time on the scandal.

"Where?" Brady asked.

"You might be the only one in the room who does not see it," Gray responded.

Brady punted when asked about the particulars of the investigation.

"I don't really have any reaction. It has only been 30 hours. I've not had much time to digest it," Brady said. "When I do I will be sure to let you know how I feel about it. And everybody else."

"Are you that slow a reader?" Gray asked.

"My athletic career is better than my academic career," Brady laughed, saying he "usually only read X's and O's. ... This was a bit longer."