- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting a prostitute as part of a months-long investigation into human trafficking at Florida spa. He has denied any involvement.
- If Kraft is found guilty, the NFL may come down hard on Kraft, fining him $US500,000, the maximum amount, plus handing out a multi-week suspension.
- The NFL is limited in how it can punish Kraft because the issue does not involve football matters.
- Some think that Kraft could also donate to an NFL-led initiative against human trafficking and that it might affect his Hall of Fame credentials.
On Friday, police charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with two counts of soliciting a prostitute as part of a months-long investigation by Florida police into human trafficking at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
Kraft is expected to be officially charged on Monday, with police reportedly preparing an arrest warrant.
If Kraft is found guilty on the two charges, which he has “categorically” denied, some in the NFL world believe the league will be forced to come down hard on one of the most famous owners in sports.
According to both Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated and Peter King of NBC, if Kraft is found guilty, the NFL may fine and suspend him, both to the maximum limits of what’s allowable by the league, to send a message.
In 2014, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was fined $US500,000 and suspended for six games for driving under the influence.
Like Irsay’s case, Kraft’s isn’t tied directly to football actions, but it does affect the league’s image. According to King, the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy states that anyone within the league must “refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.”
On Monday, the NFL released a statement saying they would apply the Personal Conduct Policy toward Kraft, but not until the case was settled and all of the “facts” were out.
A new NFL statement on #Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s allegations of soliciting prostitution says the league is seeking “a full understanding of the facts” while not interfering with an ongoing investigation. Here it is in full: pic.twitter.com/8x1XMgen6T
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2019
As King noted, a $US500,000 fine would be a mere fraction of Kraft’s $US6.6 billion net worth (according to Forbes). He could also face a multi-week suspension from the Patriots and league activities. Because the case is not involved with football activities, the league can’t dock the Patriots draft picks as they did in Spygate and Deflategate.
If the NFL suspends Kraft, he will miss the Patriots’ Super Bowl banner-raising ceremony in Week 1 of the season, according to Breer. It’s unclear if the ceremony could be moved or postponed.
King also said that Kraft could try to help lead an NFL initiative against human trafficking (a cause others in the league already support) by donating generous amounts of seed money.
Kraft is one of the most public-facing owners and one of the most powerful men in the league. It’s highly unlikely that Kraft would sell the team, but both King and Breer noted that the scandal could tarnish his legacy. Breer suggested that it could affect Kraft’s Hall of Fame credentials.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Jenny Vrentas, Kraft could face a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail. Sports Illustrated noted that Kraft could ultimately settle rather than bringing the case to court.
- Read more:
- Everything to know about the Florida spa at the center of the Robert Kraft sex scandal
- How the sex trafficking ring allegedly solicited by Robert Kraft worked, according to investigators
- NFL insider Adam Schefter says Robert Kraft ‘is not the biggest name involved’ in Florida prostitution sting
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