Patriots

Robert Kraft case is destined to hijack NFL Owners Meetings

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USA TODAY Sports

Robert Kraft case is destined to hijack NFL Owners Meetings

The NFL’s Annual League Meeting (aka, The Owners' Meetings) start Sunday in Arizona.

It’s a tentpole event (sorry for the corporate speak), the curtain-raising for the 2019 league year. Everything is aimed at pushing into the new season. The Competition Committee presents rules changes. Owners, coaches and GMs sit in meetings and presentations about plans for the new season. Deals are brokered between GMs and agents landing new teams for players still looking.

Media takes its first crack talking to coaches about new signings, draft plans, staff changes and so on. It’s supposed to have that that “onward and upward” feel to it. And the Robert Kraft prostitution solicitation case is poised to hijack the coverage. OBJ, Antonio Brown, the new overtime proposals, how things look for the next CBA, all those will keep.

“But first, breaking news on the Robert Kraft prostitution scandal as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed shock and disappointment over his fellow owner’s lapse in judgment …”

Sex. Money. Power.

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The Holy Trinity of attributes necessary to turn a “story” into a “scandal.” This has all three and a whole bunch of the 12 Apostles of Sensationalism, too – celebrity, sports, jealousy, ethics, hypocrisy, etc.
It’s been bad enough for Kraft and the Patriots brand for the past month. His situation being the main course at this Feast of Filthy Rich Friends is really the last thing the 77-year-old businessman/philanthropist/community pillar/grandfather needs.

Maybe that’s why prosecutors in Florida dangled that, “You want this to go away, don’t you?” offer at Kraft and the other johns not named Robert. “We’ll drop it if you say you’re guilty,” is what the offer basically said – reported first in the Wall Street Journal, preferred publication of multi-billionaires. Wonder if they know when these meetings are. Also wonder if it’s just coincidence that Kraft’s court date of March 28 comes the day after the meetings end.

There’s certainly incentive for Kraft to make it end. Until there’s resolution, the conversation and coverage continues and the chance to grandstand is too juicy to pass up (hello, Senator Markey). We’ll be reporting on continuances and court dates and who knows what other Palm Beach-area luminaries connections to the whole thing.

But here’s what squashing it ultimately sounds like.

“Fine. All right. Enough. Here’s my head. Here’s my concession of guilt even though I stated initially I did nothing illegal. Fans, media, here’s my statement of apology. I now throw myself on the mercy of the league office to mete out whatever punishment they see fit which – given I just admitted I’d be found guilty – could be pretty stiff once Roger gets done listening to all the backstabbing, hypocrite owners who want to see me in the stockade.”

So that option – especially because the league’s shown it can’t be trusted to let the punishment fit the crime – is naïve.

It’s really an intricate mess he got himself into, isn’t it? With the ever-present possibility that video of the trysts somehow surfaces and the easily-conjured images of Kraft hoisting Lombardis we have in our mind’s eye now are replaced by . . . different ones.

When in doubt, the truth always works.

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If Kraft’s truth is that he’s had a fond, non-transactional relationship that was sometimes intimate with the 45 and 58-year-old owners but understood there was more going on in other rooms, he should state it.

If he states he understands his involvement – regardless of the context his individual trysts occurred under – helped shine a light on a bigger problem law enforcement was trying to eradicate (even if they didn’t find it at the Orchid), well then that is to the good.

If he states that he’s embarrassed, apologetic, hopeful of moving on, where’s the lie there? I don’t know why any of those statements need to wait until after the March 28 court date comes and goes, but I was a middling English major, not a law student.

I do know this: absent a statement, absent resolution before the owner’s meetings this story is a bleeding seal swimming along by itself and the sharks are closing in. 

And some of the sharks are Robert Kraft's peers who won't pass on the chance to take a bite next week. 

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Patriots QB Tom Brady reveals mindset for Super Bowl title defense in Twitter photo

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady certainly has enjoyed his offseaason, but if his latest tweet is any indication, the six-time Super Bowl champion is ready to immerse himself in preparing for the 2019 NFL season.

Brady posted a photo to Twitter on Wednesday with a caption that illustrates his readiness for New England's upcoming Super Bowl title defense.

No team has repeated as Super Bowl champions since Brady and the Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004. New England defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII for its sixth championship in franchise history back in February.

The Patriots lost several key players this offseason through free agency and retirement, including defensive end Trey Flowers and tight end Rob Gronkowski. That said, the Patriots do have 12 picks (tied for the most of any team) in this week's 2019 NFL Draft, so reinforcements are on the way.

Besides, when you have Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as head coach, that's really all you need, right? 

WATCH: Brady throws deep pass to Edelman at Boston College>>>

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Prototypical Patriots: Big bodies and versatile defensive tackle options abound

Prototypical Patriots: Big bodies and versatile defensive tackle options abound

No matter what the Patriots do over the three days of the NFL Draft, their defensive front will have a new look in the 2019 season.

Malcolm Brown and Danny Shelton are both gone, while New England added Mike Pennel in free agency.

Should Bill Belichick look to add defensive linemen this weekend, he could go for some big bodies in the vein of Brown and Shelton, or he could opt for lighter interior linemen similar to Lawrence Guy.

Based on past players in Belichick's system, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry has evaluated which players in this year's draft could be fits in Foxboro.

Click here for the Prototypical Patriots at defensive tackle in the 2019 NFL Draft.>>>>

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