By Jessica Rollins
Jessica is a third-year sport management student who minors in marketing and is from Laguna Beach, CA. After college, Jessica aspires to work for a professional sport team in community relations or marketing. Jessica is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams.
March 14, 2019
On February 22, 2019, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was charged with “two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 17). Prior to these charges, Kraft was known as a well-rounded business and franchise owner. The community had much trust in Kraft.
Among two-hundred individuals, the 77-year-old billionaire has been linked to a Jupiter, Florida day spa and massage parlor. At the day spa, the Jupiter police claim that Kraft was one of many individuals that were caught under surveillance accepting the “paid acts” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019). Although Kraft was caught under surveillance twice, the owner could face “up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service” (Seifert, 2019, para. 5). Surprisingly, one of the “paid acts” was filmed on the “night before and the morning of [the] AFC championship game” (“Robert Kraft visited,” 2019, para. 1).
Although scandals are standard involving the high-profile team, this story caught many by surprise. When the news broke, social media went into a frenzy. Fans explained how Kraft and the Patriots cannot be trusted. As the scandal develops, many are questioning their loyalty to the New England Patriots. One fan stated, “everybody in their life has done one thing, two things, that they really really would like to get a pass for, me, you, Robert Kraft, doesn’t matter how much money you have, human is human” (Burcham, 2019, para. 7). Another fan wrote, “I would never expect something like that from him…I mean, he has such a high reputation” (Burcham, 2019, para. 5).
Along with the charges, Kraft could face additional punishments from the National Football League. Since NFL owners are subject to the personal conduct policy, the NFL has an important decision to make. The NFL released a statement later that day which stated: “the NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 24). According to ESPN, “the policy covers ‘conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible, puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL’” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7).
Under the personal conduct policy, NFL owners should be held to a higher standard. Kraft is the face of the franchise. Owners should be “subject[ed] to more significant discipline when violations … occur” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7). Along with the controversy, many fans wonder if NFL commissioner, Rodger Goodell, will punish one of the “NFL’s most powerful owners” (Seifert, 2019, para. 12). As the story unfolds, the media will cover if the NFL sweeps this scandal under the rug or punishes Kraft for his unlawful actions.
Burcham, K. (2019, February 23). ‘Human is human:’ Pats fans react to charges against Robert Kraft. Boston25news. Retrieved from https://www.boston25news.com/news/-human-is-human-pats-fans-react-to-charges-against-robert-kraft/924216340
Hanna, J., & Maxouris, C. (2019, February 23). New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting sex, police say. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/22/us/robert-kraft-solicitation/index.html
Robert Kraft visited parlor for sex on day of AFC championship game, authorities say. (2019, February 25). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-robert-kraft-prostitution-charge-20190225-story.html
Seifert, K. (2019, February 25). What charges could mean for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. ESPN.com. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26056293/what-solicitation-charges-mean-new-england-patriots-owner-robert-kraft