In a vague and carefully worded statement that sounds like a mea culpa but is decidedly not, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft today made his first public comments since he was charged last month with two counts of solicitation in connection with a prostitution sting in Florida.
Kraft’s statement (which, understandably, reads as if?it was crafted by a team of lawyers) skated over the fact that he has been charged with a crime and that video of him receiving and paying for hand jobs at the Orchids of Asia spa could very well become public in the very near future. It didn’t mention that the charges against him could be dropped if he admits that he would be found guilty at trial. It certainly didn’t mention that one of Kraft’s visits to the “spa” was on the morning of the AFC Championship. What the textbook famous-person, non-apology statement did do was provide an easily digestible nugget for news organizations to put in headlines. It worked:
The thing about an apology, though, is that before you can say you’re sorry, you have to admit you did something wrong. And a close—or even a basic—reading of Kraft’s statement shows that he isn’t admitting that at all. The statement begins like this:
“In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for weeks.”
Kraft’s attorney, William Burck, didn’t actually clear up any misinformation on Friday night. In fact, in a statement to his mouthpiece, ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Burck muddied the waters, presumably in an attempt to stop the tape of Kraft getting a hand job from being released.
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“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it. The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it,” Burck told Schefter, who then obligingly tweeted it out. “The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained.” At best, this is off-topic; at worst, it’s lawyerly misdirection. Either way, Schefter was all too happy to pass along Burck’s message without asking him what exactly he was talking about.
Kraft’s statement alluded to the crime and charges only as “this matter,” which is a tidy way to dismiss the topics he should be addressing. The statement quickly moves on:
“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.
“Throughout my life I’ve tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do was to disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women. My morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”
Invoking his late wife to say that she shaped his morals in the middle of a statement about being charged with paying for sex acts from women at a brothel seems pretty rude to her memory, but it neatly sets the statement up for its requisite pivot to the future.
“As I move forward, I hope to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. 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.”
In sum, Kraft is not admitting he did anything wrong, but he is sorry he got caught and embarrassed himself. He won’t offer any real reflections on his actions, yet he wants to be judged on his actions. He won’t tell you how he’ll use his “platform” or who he will “help” or what “difference” he will make, but he wants you to trust and respect him. What a crock.