Should the NFL fire Robert Kraft?

Jessie Catellano, Contributing Writer

Robert Kraft is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist widely known for his success as the owner of the New England Patriots. Since his beginning with the Patriots in 1994, the team has been one of the most consistently successful in the National Football League (NFL). In only 26 years, the team has won six super bowls and has gained the highest winning percentage in all of professional sports. More recently, Kraft’s name has been advertised in a less positive light. In January 2019, while visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., Kraft was suspected of acting in two instances of soliciting prostitution. In a multi-county-wide investigation, police encountered video evidence of Kraft and multiple other patrons of Orchids of Asia Day Spa paying for services shortly after acting in sexual acts with employees of the spa.

Although there is video evidence of this misconduct, Kraft’s legal team led by William Burck has convinced multiple judges that the video evidence being used to charge these patrons was seized unlawfully. In public places of undress, surveillance should not be operated. Most public places do conduct surveillance in order to prevent crime, but in private areas such as bathrooms or changing rooms, any recording should not be of any value. The ruling of the court is to protect the Fourth Amendment right to disavow unreasonable search and seizures. Law enforcement was in a complicated situation, as they required evidence to convict Kraft and others involved; however, the Supreme Court ruled this specific proof unlawful, making it unusable in any court.

Within the case, Kraft denied any accusations against him and hired reliable lawyers to help him prove his innocence. In a public statement, he apologized, “I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.” While Kraft may have apologized, he did not wholly admit to any wrongdoings. 

So the real question is: should Kraft walk away from his position as a team owner? In the past, members of the NFL have had a few instances similar to this, wherein they engaged in questionable behavior yet there was not necessarily any reasonable proof of misconduct. If Kraft pleads not guilty, there is no real evidence; if the judges are convinced of his innocence, then there should be no real reason for him to step down from his position. If he were to step down on his own merit, he would essentially be admitting to these wrongdoings after previously denying them. However, should he be punished for skepticism and embarrassment brought to him and his otherwise successful team? This is a challenge that the NFL will have to face. Will they give owners and players the ability to get away with misdemeanors like this one, making them more acceptable in the already controversial world we live in?

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