NBA: All Star Game

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft mingles during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

With Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing two counts of soliciting prostitution, there is bound to be some fallout in the form of discipline from the NFL.

The league’s personal conduct policy requires that “everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.”

The policy goes on to state: “It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.”

So whether Kraft is ultimately found guilty or innocent of what amounts to a misdemeanor, he will likely be sanctioned by the league.

Not surprisingly, outsiders are already chiming in, and assessing what they believe the penalty should be.

Former NFL player Bart Scott said he would “take their whole draft from them. It has to be something that cripples them. This is a black eye.”

Others, who along with Scott might be classified as Patriot haters, are suggesting Kraft be stripped of the team.

But let’s stop here and offer some perspective on what might ultimately happen with Kraft and the team. The best way to do that is revisit a couple cases of owners who got in trouble with the law.

The first? Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts.

Five years ago, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and drug possession in Indianapolis. A toxicology report showed Irsay had oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam in his system. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for operating a vehicle while under the influence. He was sentenced to a 60-day jail sentence.

The penalty? The league suspended Irsay six games from running the team and fined him $500,000 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Why no forfeiting of draft picks or anything with greater impact to the team? At the time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated Irsay’s actions did not have any “competitive consequence.”

Then, there’s Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers. In December of 2017, Sports Illustrated documented cases of sexual harassment within the Panthers organization. Richardson, the team owner, ultimately settled with several employees who were reportedly harassed.

The penalty? He was fined $2.75 million. Was it a coincidence he made the announcement he was selling the team the same day SI released the story?

There’s been a couple of other cases of owners (Cleveland’s Jimmy Haslam and Minnesota’s Zygi Wilf) who allegedly committed fraud in separate business cases. The league, however, opted against any sanctions.

With these cases on the books, it’s hard to believe Goodell will be inclined to throw the book at Kraft and take away draft choices, or force him to sell the team.

It would seem more in line with a fine and perhaps a suspension of games.

Will Spygate and Deflategate enter into the picture of past crimes? Maybe. But not to the point Goodell will lose his mind and start docking draft choices. That’s crazy.

“The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments,” the league said shortly after the news broke.

Kraft, who categorically denies the charges, will certainly hate not being at the games, if that’s what comes to pass. But the worst punishment for the Patriots owner has to be the embarrassment from being involved in this mess in the first place.