The Patriots’ owner plays a significant role in a sex-trafficking sting unfolding in South Florida. What does he face next, and how will the league step in? Also, it’s NFL combine week, so we run down the strengths and weaknesses of this draft class, how Haskins and Murray compare to last year’s QBs, who might be the next Gronkowski and much more.
As early as this morning, the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office is expected to issue a warrant for the arrest of Robert Kenneth Kraft, on two charges of soliciting a prostitute. The 77-year-old owner of the Patriots was among 25 johns who are alleged to have sought illicit services at Orchids of Asia day spa in Jupiter, Fla., not far from where Kraft keeps a home.
I’ve covered the NFL long enough to know not to throw around the word “unbelievable” too much to describe on-the-field or off-the-field acts. Along those lines, this story wasn’t “unbelievable” to me.
But the fact that it was to so many people explains the damage done to Kraft.
Kraft is the front-facing owner of the greatest dynasty of this, and maybe any, NFL generation. Every time you watch the Patriots on TV, you can bet there’ll be a shot of him in his suite, often with other recognizable faces. He was at the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Charlotte. He’s spent time with Meek Mill over the last year. He loves the spotlight and, until now, the spotlight has mostly loved him back.
On top of all that, the NFL has positioned him as a statesman of professional football. He has the requisite resources to command the respect of all his peers, and he has been a major player in league matters. He currently chairs the media committee and serves on the CEC, finance and NFL Network committees. He was the face of the 2011 lockout resolution. He’s been a sounding board for commissioner Roger Goodell.
And he’s now one of the guys busted at a day spa in a strip mall in South Florida.
To be clear, these charges would hit any owner’s reputation like a hurricane. It’ll hit Kraft harder not because of who he is, but because of whom he was made out to be.
I was looking forward all week to giving you a preview of the draft class ahead of the combine. And we’re going to give you that in this pre-Indy MMQB, plus
• A look at the real value of the compensatory picks you heard about on Friday afternoon.
• The comps that the Steelers are looking at to ascertain the trade value of star receiver Antonio Brown.
• Could Odell Beckham Jr. really be moved?
• The franchise-tag situation for key pass rushers.
• Explaining the fall of Christian Hackenberg, and why the correct pro-athlete comp for him might actually be ex-Yankee Chuck Knoblauch.
But we’re starting with the explosive news of Friday afternoon, and what it means.