Survivors of sexual exploitation and various anti-sexual exploitation and trafficking organizations are calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to ban New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft after his arrest in Florida last month.
In addition to the Patriots, Kraft owns the Overwatch League team Boston Uprising, which is currently participating in the esport’s second season. He’s charged with two counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., according to the Jupiter Police Department. The sex acts were reportedly captured on surveillance video. Kraft’s arrest was part of a wider investigation into human trafficking in South Florida that lasted at least a year.
Now, in a letter to Commissioner Goodell, more than 60 anti-sexual exploitation advocates, along with 19 survivors are asking that Kraft be stripped of team ownership if police investigations confirm he purchased women for sex.
“It’s important for the NFL to recognize that those who buy people for sex engage in crimes of sexual coercion and violence,” said Lisa L. Thompson, vice president of policy and research at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). “Payment for sex is a raw manifestation of sexual coercion. Men who buy people for sex use money to gain power and exercise temporary sexual control over others — typically women and girls. Further, we know that if men stopped purchasing people for sex, there would be no sex trafficking.”
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“For a team owner to engage in sexual exploitation is incompatible with the NFL’s personal conduct policy,” Thompson added. “Accordingly, survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, along with other advocates for the eradication of sexual exploitation call on the NFL to hold Robert Kraft accountable by banning him from NFL team ownership.”
The letter also calls on the NFL to create a corporate and sport culture that respects others and rejects all forms of sexual harassment, assault, and exploitation by owners, coaches, players, and others in the league.
Thompson told Variety via email the NCOSE is considering asking the Overwatch League to ban Kraft as well.