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.
BREAKING: Police: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft being charged in months-long human trafficking and prostitution investigation in Florida. pic.twitter.com/I9YFYjwchg
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 22, 2019
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:
NFL statement on Robert Kraft:
“The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2019
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.
QB Murray out again for XFL Vipers home opener
For the second consecutive week, the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL will have to go with backup quarterbacks in place of the injured, Aaron Murray.
As the Vipers get set to take on Houston in their inaugural home game Saturday afternoon, the XFL made official that Murray will miss his second game due to his lingering foot injury suffered in week one.
Murray has been unable to practice the last two weeks and that means,Tampa Bay will likely turn to Taylor Cornelius for the second straight week to start in his place. Cornelius was shaky a week ago in Seattle completing only 16 – 27 for 154 yards and two INTs, as the Vipers fell to 0- 2 with an 17-9 defeat to the Dragons.
Tampa Bay has yet to score an offensive touchdown in either of its first two games, and the Vipers may look to play former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers more (above) in this one Saturday. While not a traditional pocket passer, but more of a dual-threat, exceptional runner, Flowers has played sparingly in the Vipers first two games.
A week ago in Seattle, Flowers was just 3 – 7 for 43 yards in the air with a “pick six” as a Seattle defender leaped in the air and intercepted his pass at the Vipers one yard line and fell in the endzone.
Flowers also ran 5 times for 15 yards in the loss. He is obviously a fan favorite in the Tampa area having starred at USF in 2016-17.
If there is such a thing as a “hot seat” after only two games in the rebirth of the XFL, Tampa Bay coach Marc Trestman is clearly on it, as offense is supposed to be his forte’. Yet, the Vipers have not been able to sustain much of anything in their two losses to New York and Seattle scoring a total of 12 points.
Saturday’s home opener at Raymond James Stadium will be the first Spring football professional game in the Tampa Bay Area since the final season of the USFL and Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandits played at the old Tampa Stadium in 1985.
Report- new 17th game for NFL teams will all be International
More details are coming out on the new proposed collective bargaining agreement for the NFL and its players. And, a report Friday says that the 17 game in the regular season schedule will be a neutral field, international games for every team.
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported Friday morning that for fairness and schedule balance, the extra game will favor neither team:
Some added details on CBA being voted on by players today:
—Playoff expansion is pretty much tied to CBA approval. So likely no expansion this year if players don’t approve the deal.
—17th game wouldn’t be an international game for every team. Would be a cap on total intl games.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 21, 2020
As it stands right now, the NFL is committed to play at least four games in London each year for its “International Series.” They have done this in each of the last two years. The league is also committed to playing in Mexico City, where are the Chiefs and the Chargers played a Monday Night Football game a year ago.
The NFL has also previously played Buffalo Bills home games in Toronto during the regular season in the last decade.
While Garafolo didn’t get specific details, it appears that the NFL will now play 16 games involving the 32 teams on the international neutral fields.
Of course, as it relates to our state, the Jaguars already have an annual series where they play home games in London. Further, owner Shahid Khan just announced earlier this month that they will be adding a second home game off their Jacksonville schedule in London starting this fall.
That was meant by considerable outrage by the Jaguars fan base, as it takes a second game off of their season ticket.
The Buccaneers just play division rival Carolina at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a year ago (above), and the Dolphins last played in London against the Saints in the 2017 season.
It had been rumored that the NFL was looking to play as many as eight games in London annually, as soon as possible. It will be easy to see that the NFL varies up the combination and rotation of games between the U.K., Mexico and potentially again, in Canada to help accommodate the 16 total new games being added to the schedule.
When the CBA is ratified, it will be the first time the NFL increases its regular season since the league went from 14 to 16 regular season games in 1978. While this is not expected to go into effect for the 2020 schedule, it is believed that the 17 game schedule with each franchise playing an international game could come into play as soon as 2021.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the league will now have an extra postseason team make the playoffs from each conference. And, that means there will be three NFC and three AFC Wildcard playoff games on the first weekend each January. That could happen as soon as this season, depending on ratification of the new deal.
Under this scenario, only the top-seeded team in each conference would receive a bye the first week and there would be three Wild Card teams pitted against the three division winners. It’s also unclear if the NFL will change the format of allowing division winners, regardless of record, to be able to host play off games. There has been considerable complaining from fans, media and teams about division winners sometimes having 2-3 or sometimes more fewer wins than the Widcard team that they are hosting.
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