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Patriots owner Kraft Palm Beach arraignment March 28th

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The solicitation of prostitution case involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft now has a new court date. This after Palm Beach County Court made public the notice to appear that shows Kraft has been summoned to be in court on Thursday March 28th, at 9 am.

There had been some debate earlier in the day with the wording of the notice of hearing having in bold letters, “THE DEFENDANT MUST BE PRESENT AT THIS HEARING” that Kraft would have to be present in the courtroom on that day.

However WBZ-TV in Boston spoke to Kraft’s attorney, Jack Goldberger, Thursday morning, who told them that it’s a routine procedural hearing and that Kraft’s presence is actually not required:

Kraft is in the middle of yet another Patriots controversy after being charged in February with two counts of soliciting prostitution at the “Orchids of Asia” massage parlor in a Jupiter strip mall from January.

The Jupiter Police Department along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had a wide-ranging joint effort to Crackdown on prostitution and sex trafficking at several locations going on in South Florida.

They were able to obtain a warrant to do video surveillance inside the Jupiter massage parlor, where Kraft is reportedly to have visited on two occasions back-to-back days. Saturday, January 19th, was the first day authorities allege Kraft had two different women perform oral sex acts on him before paying and leaving.

And, then he returned on Sunday the 20th and had another session with a single woman, who also allegedly performed an oral sex act on him and again, he paid her and left.

If that second date sounds familiar, it’s because the New England Patriots were playing the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City later that evening. New England won that game and their sixth Super Bowl title two weeks later in Atlanta.

Palm Beach State attorney David Aronberg confirmed that the date in question is correct to reporters last month. And that, in addition to the video surveillance, an undercover Jupiter police detective verified Kraft’s presence in the massage parlor by witnessing him exit it into his waiting automobile and verifying him through his license tag.

As we reported in February, the Jupiter police got a warrant to install the video surveillance in the massage parlor on January 15th and surveilled it for five days from January 18th through the 22nd. Aronberg further detailed then, that there were warrants issued for 25 different individuals, who had either already been arrested or they were actively seeking their arrest.

Kraft’s spokesperson vehemently denied the charges in a statement at the time and there has been no further comment from the 77 year-old longtime owner of the Patriots. Kraft’s net worth with his other business interests and the ownership of the Patirots and Gillette Stadium is valued at over $6 Billion.

The NFL released a statement saying that they are monitoring the events surround the arrest warrant and the charges against Kraft. He is subject to league discipline under the personal conduct policy.

As we have previously detailed, the league suspended Colts owner Jim Irsay for 6 games and fined him $500,00 dollars in 2014 after he pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drug charges.

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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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