The New England Patriots‘ team plane was used to transport 1.2 million N95 masks from Shenzhen, China, to the United States.

The transfer was the result of multiple global negotiations and the Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), calling on Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft for his help in acquiring the masks. The Patriots’ plane had to be upgraded for international travel and a waiver to avoid a 14-day quarantine in China was granted if the crew did not leave the aircraft.


The Kraft family paid $2 million, about half the cost, to acquire the masks, according to the newspaper. The initial order was for 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane. The remainder of the masks are set to be delivered in another shipment.

“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us.”

N95 masks are medical-grade equipment that have been in short supply for health care workers and first responders in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic. A number of sports stars, including former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury and Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel have offered ways to acquire medical masks, while several sports gear manufacturers have pivoted to making medical equipment during the outbreak.

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