New England Patriots owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft have always valued the role of philanthropic work as an organizational ideal and practice.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity and bad publicity that follows the NFL at times.
After all, the league has been no stranger to scandal over the course of its history, with many players, coaches, owners, and executives often representing the organization in an unfavorable light. Whether it be through domestic violence or assault, substance abuse issues, crimes involving over-intoxication, child abuse allegations, or any other number of incidents, the NFL has become something of a breeding-ground for bad behavior and ethics it seems.
While no institution is perfect – just like no human being is perfect, either – it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming when faced with this daily news circuit. The media as a rule tends to focus and prioritize stories about scandal and disfunction the same way that television news networks love to feature specials on murder, violence, and natural disasters.
For all these reasons, it’s never been more important to occasionally take a step back, breathe, and re-focus on the stories of people doing good in the world.
Even if you believe the recent partnership between the NFL and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment group doesn’t go nearly far enough in addressing or correcting social issues surrounding racial discrimination and police brutality, it’s hard to argue that the deal doesn’t at least represent an attempt forward at enacting some level of positive change.
According to Boston.com, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was one of the primary players in making the new partnership into a reality. Kraft and Jay-Z are friends from other “charitable areas” they’ve worked together in, so Kraft was “happy” to help facilitate a meeting between the league and Roc Nation to see if both sides could do good together.
Kraft has obviously seen his character come into question quite a bit in 2019 with the whole Florida massage parlor prostitution scandal. While his criminal case is still ongoing and a verdict has yet to be reached, Kraft has publicly expressed his regret and apologized for his role in the scandal, acknowledging that he needs to hold himself to a better standard.
His son Jonathan, the team’s president, recently opened up on the Patriots’ philosophies regarding civil service off the field during a radio interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” Here’s some of what he had to say (again, courtesy of Boston.com):
“Right after we bought the Patriots… my father looked over at me and said, ‘The coolest thing about this whole deal is what we’re going to be able to do with that logo and those 53 players to make a real difference in the community, because 25 years ago players weren’t doing that stuff. Bruce Armstrong was the left tackle, he was our first big signing, and Robert wanted to put in his contract that there would be a minimum of 10 appearances in the community each year on behalf of a non-profit that motivated the particular player, or multiple non-for-profits. [Bill] Parcells was against it because he was like, ‘I don’t want the players out there. I want them in the building getting ready.’ It was put in Bruce’s contract, and it was put in every Patriots contract since, and has built up a huge department around it. Really I think that that led the way.”
Just as many people will have different opinions on the Jay-Z/NFL partnership, it stands to reason that many people will be divided on Robert Kraft and whether he’s done more harm than good from a character standpoint. If nothing else though, it’s inspiring to learn just how much he and his son Jonathan have done in making nonprofit and charity work a staple of the New England organization.