A correction has been made to this story.
ROBERT KRAFT’S BFFs are rallying around him as part of what appears to be a well-orchestrated campaign to resurrect his image in the wake of criminal charges filed against him for twice soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. (The original version of this story incorrectly said Kraft was arrested.)
The big news over the weekend was Kraft’s apology, where he said he was “truly sorry” without ever specifically saying what he was truly sorrow for. (Kraft is fighting the legal charges.) The statement by the owner of the New England Patriots also laid out his strategy for regaining his reputation.
“As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference,” he said. “I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect.” Most news outlets focused on the statement, but the Boston Globe and New York Times also paired the statement up with lengthy stories about Kraft that allowed many of his friends – all of them men – to put in a good word for him. Presumably they agreed to talk to the two news outlets with Kraft’s blessing.
The Times story included comments from some big names, including former and current Patriots quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady, former television talk show host Larry King, Philadelphia rapper Meek Hill, country western star Kenny Chesney, and fellow sports team owner Michael Rubin.
The Globe story had more of a local focus, and centered on the importance of the Jewish faith in Kraft’s life. It quoted Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis; Daniel Margolis, the former executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Boston; and Stan Polovets, the chairman of the Israeli-based Genesis Foundation, which is scheduled to name Kraft its 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate. Also quoted in the Globe story were Jack Connors, the retired Hill Holliday exec and Boston power broker; public relations honcho George Regan; and Bob Segel, a childhood friend of Kraft.
The one person quoted in both stories was Steve Comen, an attorney who has known Kraft since kindergarten.
In both articles, Kraft’s friends remind readers of all the good he has done in his life, his strong Jewish heritage, and how difficult it has been for him since he lost his wife to cancer in 2011.
The stories also portray Kraft as someone with a penchant for the limelight. The Times story opens with an anecdote about Kraft cutting some moves with the pop star Cardi B at a pre-Super Bowl party. The Globe story runs through his personal real estate holdings, which include two penthouses in the Seaport (combined value $12 million), his $20 million home in Chestnut Hill, a $10.8 million summer place on Popponesset Island off of Cape Cod, and a $14.5 million condo at The Plaza in New York City.
The quotes from Kraft’s friends are supportive, sometimes fiercely so.
Comen tells the Globe he is heartsick over what happened to Kraft. “Anyone who is knocking him now is doing it because they’re jealous and have never been able to achieve in their lives what he’s achieved,” he said.
Connors sticks to the script. “Bob apparently made a serious mistake in judgment, but I think you will now see him redouble his efforts to do good things for the folks who have been victims in these kind of cases. And if he follows through on supporting those kinds of charities, I‘m going to be proud of my friend,” he told the Globe.
The 85-year-old King, however, veered off script in his interview with the Times. “I can understand someone being 77 and going to a massage parlor,” he said. “He’s an older man who finds himself with a need and he gets that need satisfied. Why do we care?”