Professional football recently saw a big name come crumbling down when the Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, was charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida. Just weeks after the Patriots sixth Super Bowl win, the Jupiter, Florida police charged Kraft. The warrant for his arrest is expected to his Massachusetts’ residence on February 25, 2019.
There is potential for Kraft to face only 120 days in jail and also a disciplinary action from the NFL. The NFL currently touts that it holds “everyone” to their personal conduct policy and Kraft, while not a player or coach, can face discipline. The charges here allude to Kraft’s inability to uphold the high standards set by the NFL. Five years prior to Kraft’s charges, another NFL team owner faced a conduct violation sanction. The Indianapolis Colts team owner, Jim Irsay, pled guilty to a misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated. In this 2014 incident, Irsay faced a sentence of 60 days in jail, only 2 of which he actually served. The NFL formally fined Irsay $500,000 and suspended for six games due to the misdemeanor offense. The NFL is waiting to comment on Kraft’s charges until more information is released.
For Kraft, his NFL sanction may differ from Irsay’s because at least twenty-four other people are facing charges in relation to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The Orchids of Asia Day Spa is just one of the four other Florida institutions that police have on their radar for international sex trafficking. The police informed the public that, via cameras, Kraft has been spotted twiceengaging in sexual acts at the massage parlor. Kraft denied the charges against him but it remains to be seen whether an NFL owner may be above the law and receive a lighter conviction and sentence due to his sports status.
The alleged victims of the international sex trafficking ring slept in the actual massage parlors with little to no access to transportation or sanitary facilities. The victims were subjected to an average of eight “clients” a day without any protection. These women were a part of a sex trafficking ring that stretches from China to New York to Florida. This instance of sex trafficking is an example of what other victims face when wealthy and powerful men pay traffickers to support such illegal activity.
The NFL’s attempt to hold its members to the standards originally set to preserve the NFL’s image may be further tested if Kraft is convicted. Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, has the opportunity to maintain his intention of holding team owners to a higher standard with Kraft. Compounded with the Irsay precedent and if Kraft is convicted, the NFL has the chance to take a firm stance against violence against women.