NFL

Robert Kraft could still face punishment from Roger Goodell in Florida case

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft won a major legal battle Monday in the Florida prostitution case, but he still awaits Roger Goodell’s ruling

Robert Kraft got closer to avoiding prosecution in Florida, but punishment is still likely awaiting him from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

A Florida judge ruled Monday video evidence obtained in the prostitution sting involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was inadmissible in court because it had been obtained illegally.

Specifically, the judge ruled that the police had not taken appropriate precautions to protect the privacy of people in the massage parlor who were not committing crimes.

However, Goodell and the NFL are still likely to make a judgment and that is likely to result in the suspension of Kraft for some period of time during the NFL season. Goodell has long held that criminal charges are not necessary for him to impose punishment on league personnel for violation of the personal conduct policy and/or conduct detrimental to the league.

In 2015, Greg Hardy was suspended for four games by the NFL despite never being convicted of a crime. In 2017, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot was suspended for six games by the league. After charges had been dropped by authorities in Columbus, Ohio, and Elliot appealed his suspension claiming that he did not do anything wrong. However, after a short lived battle with Goodell, Zeke dropped his appeal, signaling that he, and the NFLPA, understood the far reaching power of the commissioner.

For Kraft, the implementation of the policy is unlikely to be any different. In fact, after the charges first came to light the NFL basically confirmed that a suspension and/or fine were likely coming for the Patriot beacon.

Roger Goodell tends to make these types of rulings in June or July, in order to give teams a chance to make contingency plans for the upcoming season rather than being blindsided at the outset of the season. This matters, especially, when teams are facing suspensions for key players on their teams.

In the case of Kraft, the impact of his absence is unlikely to be relevant in terms of the Patriots’ on-field product, as head coach and general manager Bill Belichick runs the show. Nonetheless, the owner will want to appoint someone to be the figure head during his absence. That would more than likely be son Jonathan Kraft.

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