Exoneration would be the beginning not the end for Robert Kraft

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The zeal with which Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s lawyers are fighting pending charges for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution flows from the basic reality that, if he’s found in any way responsible for any violation of the law, he’ll most definitely face a suspension from Commissioner Roger Goodell. But that doesn’t mean the reverse is true.

Exoneration in court may not be a silver bullet when it comes to the Personal Conduct Policy. Indeed, securing a dismissal or an acquittal would be the beginning not the end of the league’s decision-making process.

Because the charges involve no allegations of violence or assault, the league won’t taken any type of action before the legal proceedings have resolved, including potential use of the Commissioner’s Exempt list. Solicitation of prostitution simply doesn’t rise to the level for paid leave, regardless of whether the accused is a player or a non-player.

If Kraft wins in court, Commissioner Roger Goodell will be faced with a major dilemma. If a player were charged with solicitation of prostitution and cleared (whether on a technicality or on the merits), he’d likely face no punishment from the NFL. Again, the absence of any claim of violence or assault would likely mean that the league would leave it alone.

But that nuance will be lost when considering the league’s common refrain that owners are held to a higher standard, and when realizing that multiple players who were never arrested or charged with anything have received significant suspensions. From Ben Roethlisberger (four games in 2010, never arrested or charged) to Ezekiel Elliott (six games in 2017, never arrested or charged) to Kareem Hunt (eight games in 2019, never arrested or charged), the league has set a clear precedent when it comes to punishing players who received no punishment (or even scrutiny) from the criminal justice system.

Kraft’s lawyers may try to thread the needle if he’s ultimately cleared in court, arguing that the players listed above were accused of violence and/or assault and pointing out that since a player would get no suspension if exonerated on misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution, a non-player should receive no suspension as well. Given the aggressive defense that Kraft’s lawyers have mounted, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the lawyers have connected the dots and concluded that complete victory in a court or law could lead to complete victory in the Court of Commissioner Goodell.

Logically, that makes sense. As a practical matter, however, it will be hard to make it fly. The league has been far too aggressive with players who were neither arrested nor charged to look the other way when an owner has been charged and has issued a statement of apology, even if his lawyers manage to expose successfully the many flaws and defects of the Florida investigation, even if the cases involving player suspensions absent charges can readily be distinguished, and even if the truth ultimately is that there never was any actual solicitation.

In this case, the lawyers (who obviously make more money the longer this lingers) may need to take a back seat to common sense. While Kraft has every right to aggressively defend his name and his record when it comes to the pending legal charges, any sort of billable hour echo chamber that may be telling Kraft a win in court equals no punishment from Goodell could be badly missing the mark, resulting in needless delays and a stream of six-figure monthly invoices aimed at securing an outcome in Florida that may not lead to the presumed outcome in Manhattan.

60 responses to “Exoneration would be the beginning not the end for Robert Kraft

  1. That’s a lot of words for something quite simple. First, goodell is in a difficult spot with imposing discipline on someone that has say in goodell ability to keep job.if I’m an owner, that is exactly how I want it. Kraft will receive minimal to no punishment. That’s fine. You own something, you get that benefit. Curious as to why players agreed to a system that allows unfettered punishment of it’s members.

  2. What kind of draconian penal code punishes
    “multiple players who were never arrested or charged” ?

    The NFL has created a monster of a private judicial system
    that even the pillars of the league can’t even abide by.
    Yet, they expect the players to be stain free.

    Goodell and co. should not be in the business of
    condemning simple weed use, and $50 rub downs.

  3. I don’t see why the NFL should have the power to punish after a person is exonerated by a court of law, it begs the question

  4. mr86ism says:
    March 31, 2019 at 3:07 pm
    I think you really have to consider the civil aspects
    —————————————-

    Civil actions are beneath the notice of 345 Park Ave. How else can you explain the deafening silence when Dolphins owner Ross was hit with the highest civil penalty for a tax scam that saw his accountant & lawyer jailed? Or how they continued to assist the Wilfs in bilking MN taxpayers out of half a billion to help finance their glass house after a NJ judge found them guilty of fraud in what he called ‘evil’ civil racketeering?
    Nothing 345 Park Ave can do by way of punishing Kraft comes close to the damage his poor decision making has already inflicted on his reputation and legacy.

  5. Forget Kraft and the NFL for one minute, all Americans should be appalled with the police tactics in this case. They sought on a warrant on the basis of human trafficking and then set up electronic surveillance for a number of months. Yet, they haven’t identified even one trafficking victim and abused the system to deliver to justice 15 paying customers as if that will make a dent in a billion dollar industry.

  6. mr86ism says:
    March 31, 2019 at 3:07 pm
    I think you really have to consider the civil aspects

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Please explain. Serious request.

  7. He’s rich which means he can buy his way out of everything. However, that doesn’t change the fact that people will forever view him as the creepy old man soliciting young girls for a happy ending.

  8. It’s the same thing as OJ and Jussie Smollett… got off but everyone knoes they are guilty. The stain lasts forever regardless.

  9. Some of you people still don’t get it! As far as the NFL is concerned, it has everything to do with ‘conduct detrimental to the league!” NOT whether or not you were found guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. To them, that is irrelevant! That said, Goddell has to ask himself just 1 question, “Why was Robert Kraft frequenting this particular establishment on 2 different occasions?” There is really only one correct answer.

  10. dcnblu says:
    March 31, 2019 at 3:20 pm
    I don’t see why the NFL should have the power to punish after a person is exonerated by a court of law, it begs the question

    Because that is their policy that has been agreed upon by all 32 owners re: ‘conduct detrimental to the league’ and that ‘policy’ includes themselves as well.

  11. If he had just said, “Oops. Sorry,” gone for a quick plea and letting it go at that, we’d pretty much be at the end of it. Everything since then would have lessened the impact and made him look better. By continuing to fight it, denying a plea deal, trying to get evidence suppressed and being in the news every week, he’s simply calling more and more attention to it. Frankly, while I’m impressed a 77 year old could manage it two days in a row, I really don’t need to hear any more about it.

  12. It’s pure speculation that the Kraft lawyers’ zeal is due to the League issues. I’d bet they’d go after this hard even if Kraft wasn’t a team owner. Why not? He has the money to pay them and I suspect they had good reason to think there were some big evidentiary problems at the Sheriff’s office.

  13. jocoll45 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Some of you people still don’t get it! As far as the NFL is concerned, it has everything to do with ‘conduct detrimental to the league!” NOT whether or not you were found guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. To them, that is irrelevant! That said, Goddell has to ask himself just 1 question, “Why was Robert Kraft frequenting this particular establishment on 2 different occasions?” There is really only one correct answer.

    ———-

    He wanted a massage?

  14. dcnblu says:
    March 31, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t see why the NFL should have the power to punish after a person is exonerated by a court of law, it begs the question
    ————-

    That’s the dilemma. People and the media love villains because they can vent their frustrations at someone. Good old divisiveness. This is when it gets interesting though because like Florio said, Owners are held to a higher standard. Anyway, I can’t think of any reason a player or Owner would be suspended for solicitation unless it turned into some kind of assault. Just give him a fine and teach a bit of humility when before every game the people doing commentary have to bring up Kraft’s solicitation discretion. And the NFL needs to get out of the business of punishing players who are not charged. But will the public and advertisers do the same, after all, they are the reason the NFL has taken the steps they have to create the monseter.

  15. You are quite right in observing that Goodell’s prior suspension decisions force him into a cubby hole on this one. Whatever our opinions on Kraft’s guilt individually might be, Goodell has created an expectation for him to suspend NFL personnel who do not face legal consequences.

    The Brady issue was different, because Brady was not accused of committing a crime. Roethlisberger, Elliott, Rice, Hardy, and Brown all were accused of committing crimes. Hardy actually ended up facing trial (and possibly Brown, I cannot remember), but the others, as you observed, did not and ended up being suspended anyway. If Goodell opts to not suspend Kraft, fans will say “Why that guy and why not him?” The response will be “Well, he didn’t do it,” to which others will counter with “Well, neither did the other guy.” The only difference Goodell will have would be his judgement, because saying that Kraft was not convicted is obviously not enough anymore for stave off punishment. Goodell would have to detail exactly why he came to the decision he did, and Goodell typically has not been that transparent.

    One thing that also probably will have an impact, though, is that this will be seen as a women’s issue in the NFL. The NFL has gone through a lot to attract female fans, as seen with the growth for the Superbowl half time show and the acts they book (fair or not, that’s one way they try to do it). Their ads feature girls playing football in the “Let’s Play” program, and they’ve had numerous breast cancer campaigns as well. Most importantly is their domestic violence campaign-though Kraft is not accused of being violent or abusive towards women, prostitution is seen as taking advantage of women in the public eye, and the human trafficking angle, whether the charge is warranted or not, will not help that. So Goodell will likely be pressured by that fact as well. While all this will fall more on the influence side than the procedural side (as the questioning the precedent set by previous suspensions would do), this is also something to pay attention to when Goodell rules on this.

    If Goodell does not suspend Kraft, some people will question his personal bias based on his own previous suspension decisions and some people people will question the NFL in general’s commitment to female viewers. While Kraft may or not may deserve the suspension, there are several things other than his individual guilt that will play into this, and all of those things originated with Goodell and the NFL.

  16. Court found Brady innocent, NFL lawyer Nash even admitted to Judge Berman they had no evidence. That didn’t stop Goodell, they went back to court not on Brady’s actions but on the much narrower point that Goodell had the CBA rights to suspend him, won that and then falsely spun it as proof of Brady’s guilt. And the salty mountain of hate danced the Pat’s final downfall all through summer 2015…

  17. And yet Ezekiel Elliott got suspended when the District Attorney found that the woman in the case had no credibility and dropped the charges.

  18. Tom Brady was suspended four games for allowing his football to abide by the laws of physics. Ray Rice was suspended two games for knocking a woman unconscious and dragging her limp body through a hotel.

    Discussing what the league will do for punishment is a waste of time given their track record. They just do whatever they feel like doing and shrug away common sense or fairness.

  19. SWFLPC.INC says:
    March 31, 2019 at 5:07 pm
    jocoll45 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Some of you people still don’t get it! As far as the NFL is concerned, it has everything to do with ‘conduct detrimental to the league!” NOT whether or not you were found guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. To them, that is irrelevant! That said, Goddell has to ask himself just 1 question, “Why was Robert Kraft frequenting this particular establishment on 2 different occasions?” There is really only one correct answer.

    ———-

    He wanted a massage?
    ————

    I always travel across the country for my massages.

  20. Brady’s case is completely different, guys, I’m not sure why you keep bringing it up. Brady was never charged legally with a crime because he what he was accused of is not a crime. His case was a civil suit that he brought against the NFL, he was never in any legal trouble. Other than the fact that they’re both Patriots, it’s not related. Brady was accused of actions that violated the league’s rules about cheating; basically, Brady was accused of a football related offense and not a criminal one, and that’s what the commissioner’s supposed to preside over, whether he did a good job of it or not. So we can’t really compare them, because the NFL is the one who is supposed to investigate football related offenses. The NFL is not, however, supposed to investigate criminal cases. The NFL is be in charge of football, not in charge of legal investigations, which is why Kraft’s suspension would be closer to Big Ben, Ray Rice, and other criminal related punishments.

  21. Court did not find Brady not guilty. They weren’t ruling on innocence or guilt. And Nash was referring to direct evidence. They had plenty of circumstantial evidence.

    Nobody takes the arrogant Pats fans serious because you constantly mistate the facts.

    Kraft
    Belicheat
    Brady

    All guilty.

  22. streetyson says:
    March 31, 2019 at 5:24 pm
    Court found Brady innocent, NFL lawyer Nash even admitted to Judge Berman they had no evidence. That didn’t stop Goodell, they went back to court not on Brady’s actions but on the much narrower point that Goodell had the CBA rights to suspend him, won that and then falsely spun it as proof of Brady’s guilt. And the salty mountain of hate danced the Pat’s final downfall all through summer 2015…

    ——

    And it’s amazing they’ve been in 4 SBs, and won 3 of them, since they’ve been checking football psi at halftime.

    How could that possibly be?

  23. ak185 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    Brady’s case is completely different, guys, I’m not sure why you keep bringing it up. Brady was never charged legally with a crime because he what he was accused of is not a crime. His case was a civil suit that he brought against the NFL…
    ——————————-

    That civil suit was brought by the NFL, not Brady.

  24. If Kraft had been charged with the simple misdemeanor he just might have paid a fine and this would all be history. The over zealous police decided to mention human trafficking and publicly smeared Kraft so they could feel important. Now it appears that there was not any trafficking and the cameras might have been installed illegally.

  25. All charges against Kraft as well as the rest of those charged will be dropped.
    Not because of the fact he is a billionaire but because of the idiots who set up this supposed sting
    operation for human trafficking. There was no proof of that and and between the cops and the courts
    they couldn’t get the wording of the warrant right.
    Kraft walks as well as everyone else.

  26. Irsay (Colts) was charged with DUI, placed in cuffs, and transported to jail. He was charged with several felonies related to 100s of OXY pills in his car as well as $29K in several paper bags. He received a 6 game suspension and a $500K fine. 2 weeks before his arrest, police also found a dead woman in his condo. She died from an overdose.

    In contrast, Kraft was charged with 2 misdemeanors relating to consensual sex act that cost less than dinner and a movie…

  27. Pretty much the guy is a dirt bag, he was cheating on his wife while she was dying with a 30 some year old, then cheated on her at the massage parlor, pretty much tells you what kind of man he is.

  28. Lol no one has ever accused him of cheating on his wife while she was alive and it isn’t even possible to cheat on someone after she died.

    No wonder your posts are so dumb lol.

  29. The sad thing about this is the owner of the spa might walk because of a high-profile billionaire. Kraft is throwing handfuls of cash at an army of lawyers to have the charges thrown out. Ultimately the person who was trafficking women is getting the benefit of Kraft’s bank account.

  30. There was no “trafficking” law enforcement admitted they just made that up.

    Another dumb post

  31. cletuspstillwaterjr says:
    March 31, 2019 at 7:20 pm
    The sad thing about this is the owner of the spa might walk because of a high-profile billionaire. Kraft is throwing handfuls of cash at an army of lawyers to have the charges thrown out. Ultimately the person who was trafficking women is getting the benefit of Kraft’s bank account.
    —————————————————-

    Except the owner has already copped a low level plea and there was no trafficking. Maybe try to keep up a bit?

  32. SWFLPC.INC says:
    March 31, 2019 at 5:07 pm
    jocoll45 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Some of you people still don’t get it! As far as the NFL is concerned, it has everything to do with ‘conduct detrimental to the league!” NOT whether or not you were found guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. To them, that is irrelevant! That said, Goddell has to ask himself just 1 question, “Why was Robert Kraft frequenting this particular establishment on 2 different occasions?” There is really only one correct answer.

    ———-

    He wanted a massage?

    ==========

    He wanted the last 30 seconds of the massage. Why else would he travel across the country to go to a strip mall massage parlor? He’s not an idiot. He knew exactly what he was doing.

  33. dcnblu says:
    March 31, 2019 at 3:20 pm
    I don’t see why the NFL should have the power to punish after a person is exonerated by a court of law, it begs the question.

    —-

    Ever heard of someone getting fired after being arrested for DUI before they are ever tried?

  34. Thetruthspeaks says:
    March 31, 2019 at 6:13 pm
    Court did not find Brady not guilty. They weren’t ruling on innocence or guilt. And Nash was referring to direct evidence. They had plenty of circumstantial evidence.

    Nobody takes the arrogant Pats fans serious because you constantly mistate the facts.

    Kraft
    Belicheat
    Brady

    All guilty.
    _________________________

    Do you actually believe your own BS? All your posts about the Pats just show how much that team and organization is in your head. I wonder what team you root for that the Pats have been abusing for years.

  35. dannywhite11 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm
    Thetruthspeaks says:
    March 31, 2019 at 6:13 pm
    Court did not find Brady not guilty. They weren’t ruling on innocence or guilt. And Nash was referring to direct evidence. They had plenty of circumstantial evidence.

    Nobody takes the arrogant Pats fans serious because you constantly mistate the facts.

    Kraft
    Belicheat
    Brady

    All guilty.
    _________________________

    Do you actually believe your own BS? All your posts about the Pats just show how much that team and organization is in your head. I wonder what team you root for that the Pats have been abusing for years.

    —————

    It’s not BS. It’s all facts. I state facts and Patriot fans state lies to try to dispute it.

    And your team is a bunch of low character morally corrupt people that will do anything to win.

  36. dannywhite11 says:
    March 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm
    I wonder what team you root for that the Pats have been abusing for years.
    ———————————-

    The list to choose from is long and the beatings will likely continue until morale improves

  37. Time to transition the team to Jonathan. Robert has done so many good things, but he has spent way too much time hanging out with celebrities and working on his own celebrity. It’s destructive behavior.

  38. It’s embarrassing for the NFL and on that basis I would expect him to receive some sort of penalty. It’s not a good look for “the shield.”

  39. Players lose short career time and a significant amount of money.
    What punishment could Kraft get that would be worse than this publicity?
    This sheriff knew the smear was worse than the charge.
    Kraft has already handled the worst of it; anything else is chump change.

  40. Nothing more then a dog and pony show. The hypocrisy of the NFL and the legal system are a joke.

  41. First, a player would still get punished even if exonerated. There is zero reason to believe that wouldn’t be the case. It’s been proven many times now. Second, even if that was the case there is zero chance Goodell won’t seize on the opportunity to go after Kraft (regardless of what you believe on the matter). With regards to the NFL this isn’t going to come down to what you believe Kraft did or did not do. It will be what Goodell believes happened and if he feels the public will accept doing nothing or not.

  42. If what ever he was doing ends up being considered consensual and the videos were taken illegally I am not sure the league would be able to punish him.

  43. So, guys…did the other 16 guys that visited the spa all have “consensual” relations with the women they happened to pay, too? Or just Mr. Kraft?

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