On Friday, following reports that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft had been caught in a prostitution sting in Florida and charged with two counts of solicitation, top ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter said something on TV that set off fevered speculation.
"I'm also told that Robert Kraft is not the biggest name involved," Schefter said on television.
Kraft is a highly prominent NFL owner, which raised the natural question of which more prominent figure might have been involved in the sting. Another NFL owner? A player? Some other figure in the business world who's better known than Kraft? Or even, knowing Kraft's close ties to the president, someone associated with the Trump administration?
According to public officials in Florida, the answer was none of the above.
"Nobody around here has any idea what [Schefter] is referring to," Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney's office, said Friday, per Deadspin.
According to Fox News, Robert Kraft, 77, was one of 173 men ensnared in a sting, which took place across several massage parlors in Florida. The list of other men includes John Havens, the former president of Citigroup, and John Childs, a billionaire equity firm owner and backer of President Trump. Neither of those men could reasonably be described as a bigger name than Robert Kraft, whose New England Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month.
The Deadspin report states that while he will be officially charged next week, Kraft would not be extradited from Massachusetts to face the charges, although a trial would likely require him to show up in person. Kraft, however, may face discipline from his fellow NFL owners. Another owner, Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 in 2014 after pleading guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated, per NFL.com.Deadspin, on Thursday, filed a report with the headline "What's Up With The NFL Questions At This Sex Trafficking Press Conference?" The report explained that during the Vero Beach Police Department's first press conference to announce the busts, a reporter had gotten up to ask questions about "prominent individuals" who had been caught up in the sting. The reported then specifically asked about NFL players, and then later "an owner or a coach or anything?"
The police answered either "no" or "not to my knowledge" to all of these questions, though this was at a time before any names had been officially released.