New England Patriots

What Robert Kraft Must Do to Repair Damaged Reputation

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft watches warmups on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJuly 12, 2012

New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft appeared in an odd viral video where he read lines with a young, bikini-clad woman auditioning for a movie. But he simply needs to ignore all the attention towards the video and his reputation will repair itself.

The woman’s name is Ricki Lander and her IMDB page shows that her past roles include “Flight Attendant” in Iron Man, “Hot Girl” in the TV series Working Class and “Model” in Ugly Betty

Lander is 32 years old and, according to ESPN, Kraft describes her as a friend. In that report, Kraft made the following statement.

I tried to help Ricki prepare an audition tape for an upcoming Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy by reading Wilson's lines. I never intended that it would be made public and I regret that it has. I think we can all agree that Owen Wilson has nothing to worry about. I am going to stick to my day job. 

Kraft has taken a beating in the blogosphere, and many feel that the video (embedded here, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Sean Pendergast) is evidence that the 71-year-old is not being entirely forthcoming about his relationship with Lander. He described her as a “pal” when the two attended a Boston Celtics playoff game in June, according to Gayle Fee, Laura Raposa and Megan Johnson of the Boston Herald's Inside Track.

Kraft’s wife Myra died of cancer last July, and the Patriots wore patches with her initials on their jerseys this past season.

Her recent passing fueled much of the criticism that was hurled at Kraft. The Boston Herald's Margery Eagan writes, “It’ll never fade away, this painful new image of Kraft as yet another sad, silly, all-sexed-up old fool.” 

But assessments such as this may be premature. A viral video often draws strong initial reactions, but then gets buried under the millions of other YouTube clips that dominate the Internet. 

Kraft’s high-profile position and his horrible acting will ensure that he will be the subject of occasional jokes for quite some time, but all talk of the video damaging his reputation will fade away soon enough. 

Unleashing a few curse words next to a scantily clad woman does not offset $100 million in charitable donations. 

The public knows nothing about Kraft’s relationship with Lander that is not taken from his brief statements, the video and their appearance together at the Celtics game. There is no reason that Kraft should reveal anything more, and without any insight into Kraft’s private life, all people can do is speculate.

This bloviating will run its course and the video will largely be forgotten in a short amount of time.

Kraft’s simple, self-deprecating statement was all he needed to do to protect his reputation. Now he just has to move on, and soon enough, so will everyone else. 

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