Among the abundance of buffoonery we saw in this week’s news, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft got his time in the limelight after being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution. The charges surfaced after an array of massage parlors were busted for housing prostitution and trafficking rings. Kraft was not the only name that came up. Hundreds of names surfaced after the six month investigation. If found guilty, Kraft will spend 120 days in county jail; although, it is highly unlikely he will spend even a second behind bars, due to his $6.6 billion net worth.
The first question to be raised is whether Kraft will face punishment from the NFL. This is reminiscent to a similar scandal: Tom Brady’s notorious Deflategate case in which the Patriots quarterback was caught deflating balls to make them easier to catch. The Patriots ended up being fined one million dollars and losing two draft picks, while Brady got a mere four game suspension. That’s a slap on the wrist when you consider the effect a deflated ball could have on a game. A misdemeanor solicitation charge for the ‘Pats owner should be a walk in the park. Don’t count on Kraft losing his position as owner.
These situations happen and it’s strange how much media coverage it takes for the public to become invested. I would expect bigger names to come out throughout the course of this investigation.
I am not promoting Kraft’s behavior and I genuinely believe he should receive consequences from the league at the very least. Owners and top officials should be held to a higher standard. It is very hypocritical of them to fine Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for refusing press conferences or Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for wearing pink Beats by Dre headphones. My point being, why do the NFL’s top executives uphold their players to unreasonably high standards, when owners and league officials have been historically caught committing actual crimes?
The regulatory practices of the NFL promote a widespread double standard. After all, there would be no game without the players who are forced to put up with the abundance of outrageous rules and standards.
The truth of the matter is that Kraft is more than likely going to get off scot-free. He will pay a minor fine, if any, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will continue to fine players for being themselves and trying to have fun playing the sport they’ve dedicated their lives to.
Rather than punishing Kraft (there’s absolutely no way he would face punishment regardless), I propose we fire commissioner Goodell and replace him with someone who will remove the blind spot of hypocrisy in the NFL. Let’s put someone in there who can make players and fans alike enjoy the game for what it used to be. Someone who will strive to hold owners to a higher standard than their players. It all boils down to accountability. Although owners should be subject to the same judicial treatment as the average citizen, that is unrealistic right now; so we would be better off with adjusting leadership and fixing the system from the top down.