Will the NFL make an example of Robert Kraft?
The New England Patriots owner recently was charged with two first-degree misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution after allegedly paying for sex acts at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., on Jan. 19 and hours before his team’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 20. The charges stem from a widspread crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida.
Kraft, whose court date has been set for April 24, also could face discipline from the NFL under the league’s personal conduct policy.
There’s seemingly a wide range of outcomes in terms of discipline from the NFL — with a hefty fine and/or suspension both possible — but Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman spoke to several people around the league who speculated Kraft might be punished more harshly than Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay or former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo.
Irsay was fined $500,000 and suspended six games in 2014 after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, along with four counts of possession of a controlled substance. DeBartolo was fined $1 million and suspended the entire 1999 season over a gaming scandal.
Here’s what Freeman wrote in his “10-Point Stance” piece published Wednesday:
However, the general consensus I hear from speaking to people in the league (who are guessing) is that if the accusations against Kraft are proved accurate, the NFL will punish Kraft more severely than it did Irsay or DeBartolo.
They believe the league doesn’t want to be viewed as going easy on arguably the NFL’s most powerful owner. Also, they say, the NFL may have no choice. The Personal Conduct Policy says owners and high-ranking officials are to be held to a higher standard than players or others.
Kraft denied engaging in any illegal activity in a statement released by a spokesperson, but surveillance videos from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa allegedly show otherwise.
The 77-year-old could face one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and attendance in a human-trafficking dangers class if convicted, per ESPN.com, and that could be just a portion of his problems if the NFL also comes down hard in its punishment.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images