Will Tonight’s Patriot’s Game Be Fixed? Kraft and the NFL’s Big Gamble

2015 08 12_2615What is going on makes me think of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” As our hero perched on the bridge ready to commit suicide an angel appeared to suggest to him that things need not be like they were, he could make a difference. His home town did not have to be turned into a corrupt Pottersville.

The New England Patriots are already not admired for their high ethical standards. Outside of my friend Penny and the million or so others like her who live in Patriot’s Land, those outside don’t call the New England NFL team the Patriots. Some  call them the New England Spygaters or the New England Deflators. Fair or unfair, that is the reputation. It puts a taint on all their winnings. Others call them the News England Tricksters; now you have to wonder if they’ll start being called the New England Fixers.

The Sunday adulation of that team must make the Catholic Church pleased that it changed the Sabbath to Saturday as well as Sunday. Where once mandatory weekly attendance at Mass was on the Sabbath, Sunday; it was moved to intrude upon the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday, so as not to intrude upon the professional sports.

This was a fortuitous and auspicious move given the way in which worship has gone from God to the Game – Sunday no longer being a day of rest but a day of restlessness worrying about how the Game will go.

The big question is whether the Patriots and its ownership are turning Massachusetts into another Pottersville? Will there be an angel that will come down and save us? Some are wondering if Massachusetts is being corrupted because when it comes to the Patriots the attorney general does not want to enforce the clear law on gambling? Rather than enforce it she is “studying it” perhaps because it is too connected.

Governor Baker, the Speaker of the House of Representative, and the Treasurer all talk about it as if it is something new. It’s gambling . It has been outlawed in Massachusetts for a century. You know what I am writing about. It is the gambling enterprise set up in Boston called Draftkings that, like in the land of the Emperor with no clothes, no one seems to want to tell the truth that it is running a gambling operation.

Is it because like in Pottsville we are dealing with a man of immense wealth who can dictate what laws will be followed because of the worship accorded to him and his team? Are his contributions to politicians and the Citizen United support groups important to decisions that are made? There is some sinister force active in all this when our elected state official seem oblivious.

The owner of the Patriots Bob Kraft is shockingly also a big investor in the gambling outfit Draftkings according to the NY Times.

There is no doubt it is a gambling outfit for its CEO said that it was. This was also recognized as such by the nation’s top authority on gambling the State of Nevada. (How can something be gambling in Nevada but after it crosses the Connecticut River going east it is something that has to be studied?) We did not need Nevada or anyone else to tell us it was gambling when those of us who can’t tell a football from a Frisbee can place a bet. Draftkings suggests there is skill involved as if polka and setting the odds on the games which are gambling does not involve any. Ninety-nine percent of their players when picking teams say the Lord’s Prayer by paraphrasing it a bit:“give us this day our daily bets.”

Nice situation: the owner of an NFL team making money off of those who bet on the players of his team. Now just suppose, not that it would ever happen, that the people running the gaming operation who in the normal course would be considered criminals looked at today’s results and saw that they could make a bundle of money if certain things happened or did not happen in tonight’s game. Not far from their mind was the Patriot’s reputation along with the knowledge if they did well so will the Patriot’s owner.

Not that it would happen, but a call from this type of person in Draftkings to someone on the Patriots could affect the performance of some of the players. A few overthrown passes; a few sacks; and perhaps a fumble or two could make those Draftkings owners and investors quite happy. We’ve seen it in the past where there is big money to be made people do funny things.

Shoeless Joe Jackson one of the best players in Major League Baseball in 1919 took $5,000 not to do his best in a World Series baseball game. He was barred for life. So Pete Rose suffers for doing no more than what perhaps half of the NFL players are doing today gambling with Draftkings. Neither Jackson or Rose made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Some BC basketball players went to prison for shaving the odds.

There is a suit in New Jersey where the NFL owners are trying to prevent the people of that state from being able to bet on NFL games. These same owners are investing in the gambling outfits that bet on player’s performances in NFL games. The only real difference is that with the latter the owners get to make money off the games; with the former the state, the taxpayers, make the money. The owners creed is greed. It knows no limit.

That’s the horror of the situation when gambling is mixed with sports. Every play is suspect. Every dropped ball or incomplete pass or step out-of-bounds or referee call. You now have to wonder if the fix is in. That is why it is illegal.

A  player knowing his miscue might greatly enhance his chance to make big bucks on his Draftkings bet will be sorely tempted. I’d remind all that another part of the Lord ’s Prayer is: “Lead us not into temptation.”



  1. One of the reasons I love this blog is the glimpse into the mind of the prosecutor.
    Cynicism, conspiracies, I love it and it happens to jibe with my personal worldview.

    The two “Fantasy” sites feel that 1) They have found a loophole (maybe) and 2) Participation by VOTERS can become so widespread that it is difficult to move against them. I bet they watched the Uber and AirBnB sagas unfold and said “Now is the time to open”.

    If the Koch brothers and Soros and every other moneyed interest can bend the law in there favor, why not a crumb to the working stiff?

    I bet we find a way to “tax” and “regulate” the sites and they become part of Americana.

  2. The game is rife with the potential for cheating. An obscure player scoring a touchdown or two would be worth millions in any given week if someone knows that player is being worked into the game plan and especially if they have some control over that scenario. The DraftKings employee who won $350,000 in one week and close to a $1 million overall has exploited a statistical edge based on the the rosters submitted to his site for that week. Right now, the fantasy players that win every week are the professionals who submit hundreds or thousands of rosters. Maybe the owners want to acquire as much cash as possible before the concussion problem puts an end to everything.