April 04, 2019
Sixers limited partner Michael Rubin appeared, and spoke at, a Sports Business Journal conference discussion on Wednesday night.
He was asked about his friend Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who is charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution after a police sting earlier this year at a day spa in Florida turned up an alleged prostitution and sex-trafficking ring.
It feels like an odd question at a conference where you’re speaking as a guest and a presenter, but Rubin took the question in stride and talked about Kraft:
We can break Rubin’s comments down into two major parts, and then do a little fact-checking.
Here’s part one:
“I try to find a positive in every negative, and I think the biggest thing that I’ve talked to Robert about every day these days is, he’s finally seeing what it’s like to be a player in the NFL, and a player in the NBA, when you have experiences with law enforcement that aren’t the way you thought that they were going to be. You’re talking about a guy who it was proven, a month ago, you see all the media talk is about sex trafficking: The whole thing is made up by law enforcement. There was no sex trafficking. It’s a lie. They’re not even trying to prove it, they’ve given up, no one’s been charged, there was no sex trafficking.”
On March 26, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said he believes the situation at the spa was human trafficking – “It looks like trafficking. It feels like trafficking. It sounds like trafficking. I believe it is human trafficking,” Snyder said – but police don't yet have all the evidence needed to prove it was human trafficking.
Kraft still has a hearing scheduled for April 12 in West Palm Beach in connection with his case, after pleading not guilty.
Here’s part two:
“He was illegally videoed, he was illegally pulled over, and now (Kraft)’s like, ‘Man, I get what our players go through when they get pulled over and they’re discriminated against.’ I think it’s been eye-opening for him. He was, to be honest, like me. A year and a half ago, I thought the criminal justice system worked perfectly in 99.9 percent of situations. Today, I recognize it doesn’t work well in most of the situations. And not because they’re bad people, but because the system is fundamentally broken.”
According to a warrant application by the Jupiter Police Department, which USA Today obtained, a Palm Beach County Circuit Judge approved the police department’s delayed notice warrant for five days of video surveillance.
Kraft’s lawyers allege the police department misled the judge.
For what it’s worth, it's interesting the way Kraft — or Rubin, or both, because Rubin’s phrasing is unclear on to whom the idea belongs — compares being subjected to a police sting for allegedly participating in illegal activity to being a minority athlete discriminated against for the color of one's skin.
Earlier this week, Rubin appeared in Center City alongside Meek Mill, a friend of Kraft’s, and Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris to announce upcoming legislation designed to reform the state’s probation system.
Rubin and Kraft are both founding members of the Reform Alliance, the organization helmed by Mill which lobbies for changes to state probation and parole laws.