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Florida arrest warrant issued for Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Florida Football Insiders

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Just three weekends ago, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft stood on a stage in Atlanta (above) holding the Super Bowl Lombardi trophy for his team’s third championship in the last five years. Now, Kraft is facing serious legal trouble in Jupiter, as a warrant has been issued for his arrest on charges of prostitution.

You read that, correctly.

Jupiter police chief Daniel Kerr announced the stunning news at a late Friday morning press conference saying that Kraft had been snared in a Palm Beach County widespread crackdown on prostitution and sex trafficking in the area.

Approximately 200 individuals have either been arrested or have had a warrant issued for their arrest in recent days, as part of the investigation. That multi-juristictional crackdown has included the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Kraft is being charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a prostitute on two different occasions at the “Orchids of Asia Day Spa” in Jupiter, which is a massage parlor that is also apparently a known place for prostitution.

Kerr confirmed his press conference the Kraft is being charged with two separate incidents after two different appearances recently at the day spa, where the average fee for services ranges between $59 for a half hour and $79 for an hour. The Jupiter police say that there is body cam and other surveillance evidence of the alleged acts involving everyone that has been arrested or charged for the arrest, including Kraft.

A spokesman for Kraft emphatically denied the charges Friday, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” said a statement released to the media.

The 77 year-old Kraft has owned the Patriots since the early 1994 and is regarded as arguably, one of the two or three most powerful owners in the NFL, if not all of North American Sports. The Patriots have appeared in 10 Super Bowls during his ownership, nine in the 2000s with six victories. His net worth is estimated at $6 Billion dollars.

Kraft was previously married to Myra Hiatt for 48 years, until Hyatt died of ovarian cancer in 2011. Since his wife’s death, Kraft has primarily been dating an actress / model named Ricki Noel Lander, who is 39 years old.

Kraft is potentially subject the to NFL discipline for the conduct policy. It should be noted that in 2017, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was basically forced to sell his team after allegations of sexual harassment in the Panthers workplace arose. Richardson was never charged with any crimes.

Also, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested and later pled guilty in a DUI case in 2014 and was suspended six games and fined $500,000 by Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2014.

The NFL commented on the arrest allegations involving Kraft Friday afternoon:

Officials with the Jupiter Police Department said they will release more information on the specific allegations against Kraft next week.

The Palm Beach Post reported Friday afternoon that the Jupiter Police obtained a warrant to video inside the spa that exists in a strip mall on January 15th. They claim to have recorded dozens of illegal acts involving customers and the women working in the between the 18th and the 22nd, including capturing Kraft on video participating.

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Time for concern after XFL TV ratings declined again last week?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive week, the XFL televison ratings continued to slide in the wrong direction. And, the troubling part is that if the trend continues, the XFL will have no leverage for sponsors and revenue to keep it going long term.

First, here are the specifics on the bad viewership news: According to Showbuzzdaily.com all four XFL broadcasts last Saturday and Sunday afternoon had lower ratings in their slot than the previous week.

That includes the Tampa Bay Vipers home debut against Houston, which was the early game on ABC Saturday. And, while that window had 400,000 less viewers than week 2, the bigger concern is ABC has lost almost 40% of the audience from the 3.3 million average that watched their Week one debut game on Saturday afternoon.

The ratings downward trend is following the same pattern as last Spring’s Alliance of American Football, where the ratings dwindled to under a million fans for broadcasts by week five and eventually the league shut down after just eight weeks. This was in part because of concerns on how the AAF could make any revenue, through television in specific, if they had very little audience for the end of year one and to sell off of for year two.

Now, WWE owner Vince McMahon, who folded the XFL the first time in 2001 in large part because the television audience plummeted over the course of the first month or so of its existence and never recovered, has the same issue in 2020.

And, as we wrote previously, this audience decline while negative is far less McMahon’s original XFL and it’s first season of 2001.  That’s when, it debuted on its first Saturday night on NBC with a massive 10.1 rating, which translated 18 years ago to more than 9.5 viewers on network TV. A Smashing success.

However, the XFL’s ratings plummeted starting the following week and had fewer than 25% of that opening night audience just a month later with the games still being shown on a Saturday night coveted slot on NBC. It doomed the league from a P.R. and sponsor standpoint and McMahon pulled the plug.

Now, in 2020, McMahon reportedly has money to burn and is apparently prepared to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in year one. So, even if the XFL TV ratings continue come down significantly, it will not spell the end of the XFL (like it did nearly 20 years ago) after just a single season.

At least, that’s what we think.

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Vipers better but drop third straight game in home opener

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Mary Holt- USA Today Sports

Although their play was improved offensively, in the end it wasn’t enough for the Tampa Bay Vipers after they dropped their third straight XFL game to start the season 34 – 27 to Houston Saturday afternoon in Tampa.

Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, as Houston scored early in the fourth quarter to go up by seven and held off the Viper the rest of the way.

The Vipers offense came to life after they had failed to score in the offensive touchdown in either of their first two games. Both of which were losses on the road. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius, subbing for starter Aaron Murray who missed his second straight game with an injured foot, once again had modest numbers 16-31 for 193 yards 1 TD, 1 INT.

However, he did pull the game even at 18 – 18 at the half after scoring on a one yard QB sneak and Tampa Bay got the two-point conversion.

Still, the former Oklahoma State quarterbacks day was inconsistent and the home crowd at Raymond James Stadium began to chant the name “Flowers, Flowers” for former USF Star Quarterback Quinton Flowers, who played sparingly for the third straight game in a reserve role.

Flowers got Tampa Bay’s first offensive TD on the young season with a seven yard run in the first quarter, but only played QB sparingly in the game, again. He was just 4-6 for 57 yards passing with 29 yards on six attempts on the ground.

Meanwhile, the former Temple star Walker found receiver Cam Phillips for the third of their three touchdown hookups from 17 yards out to give Houston a 34 – 27 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Phillips devastated Jerry Glanville’s Vipers defense for 194 yards receiving on eight catches with the three TDs.

The Vipers look like they were going to have a chance to re-tie the game when Cornelius (above) completed a pass to his top target on the day, Jaylen Tolliver, at the two-yard line. However just like a week ago in Seattle when a critical fourth quarter drive stalled and Tampa Bay came away with no points in a 17 – 9 lost the Dragons, the Vipers got no points after Cornelius threw incomplete on second, third and fourth downs.

Many in the crowd and observers in the media were curious, as to why coach Marc Trestman didn’t go to Flowers as the dual threat running QB to at least try something different on one of those plays? Flowers even questioned why he did not play more after the game to the media.

The Vipers got the ball one final time, but Cornelius was picked off near midfield with just over a minute left to seal the defeat.

The Vipers played the first spring professional football game in Tampa, since the closing of the USFL 1985 season. That’s when Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandits were a popular item at Old Tampa Stadium. Saturday’s home opener drew and announced crowd of 18,117.

However it’s little consolation for former Bears and CFL coach Trestman and his team, as they remain winless on the season. The L.A. Wildcats playing Sunday are the other 0-2 team in the league, currently.

And, you have to wonder whether Trestman will be forced to go to Flowers for the start when they host the D.C. Defenders next week.

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