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MLS remains mum on Robert Kraft as graphic affidavits come to light

robert kraft
Jan 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (not pictured) speaks at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Update: MLS commissioner: league’s personal conduct policy applies to Robert Kraft

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Revolution and New England Patriots, has remained mostly silent as more information comes out about his alleged solicitation of prostitution at a Florida massage parlor.

On Monday, Florida law enforcement released two affidavits that describe in graphic detail Kraft’s alleged behavior while inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January. Kraft is being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution, which carries a maximum prison sentence of one year plus a $5,000 fine and community service.

“We have a newsmaker here,” Jupiter police chief Daniel Kerr said last Friday before announcing that Kraft was one of 25 people identified as part of a six-month sting into the parlor, which was also part of a larger investigation in Florida into human trafficking and prostitution that has ensnared nine other spas across the state.

Kraft spokesman Stacey James said Friday, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

The affidavits indicate Kraft visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 – the day before the New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium.

According to the document, Kraft was first seen entering the business in a blue shirt and a blue cap. He stayed at the spa for approximately 45 minutes, during which he was attended to by two women. Over the course of his stay, the affidavit indicates the women “manipulated Kraft’s [genitals].”

Kraft returned the next day and stayed at the business for approximately 15 minutes. Footage reportedly captured similar interactions between Kraft and two women. The second time, Kraft can allegedly be seen giving one of the women at least $100.

Major League Soccer hasn’t said anything since last Friday, when it told Sports Illustrated it was “aware of reports” related to Kraft’s ties to the sting in Jupiter.

Meanwhile, the National Football League, which made a similar statement Friday, added Monday that its personal conduct policy applies to everyone and that it would handle “this allegation in the same way we would handle an issue under the policy.”

MLS has not responded to requests from Pro Soccer USA asking about whether it has a personal conduct policy that also applies to club owners.

The NFL, which has a controversial reputation for discipling players, particularly in cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence, has nevertheless doled out punishments to franchise owners before.

In 2014, the league fined Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay $500,000 and suspended him for six games after he was arrested for drug possession and driving under the influence.

The NFL’s relationship with Kraft, particularly when it comes to league commissioner Roger Goodell, is a side plot in and of itself as the two have butt heads in recent years.

Goodell suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, docked two draft picks, and fined the franchise $1 million in 2015 over suspicions that the team deflated footballs during the AFC Championship in which New England defeated the Colts 45-7.

In 2007, the NFL also disciplined the Patriots for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches during a game.

Kraft’s relationship with MLS is far less tenuous. He helped establish the league in 1996 and his Revolution were one the original clubs. He is also partly responsible for the hiring of current MLS commissioner Don Garber, a former NFL marketing executive.

How MLS and the NFL discipline remains to be seen. And while it is unlikely that Kraft will serve jail time, his greatest punishment will likely be the hit to his reputation. Kraft and his family are well-known around the world – and particularly in New England – for their philanthropy, which includes human trafficking and women’s issues.

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