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Robert Kraft won’t take solicitation plea deal, yet

Florida Football Insiders



Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There apparently will be no plea deal, at least for now, for Patriots owner Robert Kraft in his solicitation of prostitution case in South Florida.

This according to the latest report from CNN, which said Wednesday afternoon that it has a source familiar with the case that’s told them Kraft and his attorneys will not accept the proposed arrangements to avoid a guilty verdict that were reported yesterday:

The Wall Street Journal broke the story Tuesday afternoon about the possible plea deal for the 77 year old owner and reported that the Palm Beach State Attorneys Office was making a standard plea deal available to numerous defendants who are being charged in connection with the crackdown on solicitation of prostitution and human trafficking.

That multi-juristictional effort snared over 100 individuals, including the 77 year-old Kraft in January.

The State Attorneys office is looking for defendants to enter a “diversionary program for sexual offenders.”

The Journal further reported the defendants would have to view the evidence and that the Jupiter police and Palm Beach County Sheriffs have and the video evidence against them. They would further have to admit that the evidence would have led to their conviction.

The defendants would then, have the solicitation of prostitution charges dropped. That would also be pending, if they would agree to other conditions such as: community service, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and taking educational courses on prostitution and human trafficking.

Kraft is being charged with two separate counts of solicitation of prostitution for visiting the “Orchids of Asia” massage parlor on back to back days, January 19th and 20th. That’s when, authorities say they have video of him engaging in sexual acts with workers inside the parlor.

The Jupiter Police in a joint task force effort with the Palm Beach County Sheriffs and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had obtained a warrant for video surveillance and surveilled numerous individuals, including Kraft committing the acts during that week at the “Orchids of Asia.”

Kraft has not publicly spoken about the charges other than an initial statement being released on his behalf vehemently denying the charges. However, the Palm Beach State Attorney is equally as adamant that they have clear and convincing video evidence of Kraft and the others charged committing the sex acts and that’s why he’s being charged.

Even if Kraft, who has owned the Patriots for 25 years, were to avoid jail time and the public embarrassment of a trial and or the video being played publicly, he is still facing discipline from the NFL. The league has already announced that they are monitoring the situation. And, they are ready to enforce penalties against Kraft.

They previously fined Colts owner Jim Irsay $500,000 and suspended him for six games after his plea for DUI charges in 2014.


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

Florida Football Insiders



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 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

Florida Football Insiders



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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