Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT yesterday apologized that "what appears to be an audition video" for his rumored girlfriend RICKI NOEL LANDER became public, according to Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. The tape includes a "four-letter profanity and a fake punch to another actor." Kraft in a statement said, "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” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/11). Kraft in the video portrays a "Yahoo executive, and he tries to persuade Lander to allow him to buy her a drink." In N.Y., Christian Red notes Kraft "even busts out a few dance moves and at the end of the clip throws a faux punch and utters an expletive at a guy who appears to be acting in the role of a bouncer" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/12). In Massachusetts, Mark Farinella notes the video "first appeared on the Boston-based BarstoolSports.com website around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, and received more than 25,000 hits overnight on that site alone." The tape, in which Kraft's dialogue "contains a smattering of sexually suggestive references, is in direct contrast to the image he prefers for his team to project to the public" (Attleboro SUN CHRONICLE, 7/12). The YouTube version of the video yesterday afternoon was pulled by Fox on copyright grounds. However, other websites like Deadspin still have the full video. In addition, an NFL logo appears behind the green screen in the video (THE DAILY).
EVERYBODY'S A CRITIC: In Boston, gossip columnists Fee, Raposa & Johnson ask, "Who leaked the uber embarrassing 'screen test' to the World Wide Web???" Reports indicated that Kraft is "mortified that his 'prank' meant for 'The Internship' screenwriter and star Vince Vaughn went viral." Shortly after Kraft issued "his mea culpa, the suits at Twentieth Century Fox yanked the video from YouTube claiming it contained proprietary information, i.e. the script." A Patriots source said, "The New England Patriots brand is so solid, I cannot believe this thing would be an issue. It's enough to get people to raise their eyebrows. But if there's a string of these kinds of things, and the team is 1-15, it can be an issue." Fee, Raposa & Johnson: "File under: Fumble" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). The BOSTON GLOBE writes, "What was Robert Kraft thinking? That was the reaction many people had Wednesday" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/12). In Providence, Corey Bourassa wrote fans "had to be stunned when this strange video" surfaced (PROVIDENCEJOURNAL.com, 7/11). In Boston, Margery Eagan writes under the header, "Robert Kraft Goes Over Viagra Falls, But It's His Image In A Barrel." Eagan: "You can’t quite believe this is Mr. Robert Kraft, who created a football dynasty in his signature blue shirts with crisp white collars. Creepy. Disturbing. Need to shower" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). In Massachusetts, Nick Underhill wrote, "The tape casts Kraft in a different light" (MASSLIVE.com, 7/11). The BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL's Galen Moore writes under the header, "Bob Kraft's Painful Audition Tape Just Won't Go Away" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/12).
DID HE NEED TO APOLOGIZE? Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said it was necessary for Kraft to apologize "because of his impeccable reputation, what he’s accomplished in the NFL, because of what has happened with him with the loss of his wife the last year." He added, "A man of his background and reputation has to come out, and if he addresses it with humor, even better.” ESPN’s Michael Smith said Kraft needed to address the issue because he has to "go in and explain it to his franchise." Smith: "Kraft runs his organization where if anything is the slightest bit embarrassing, he wants his players to be held accountable for it.” The Patriots are "all about image.” However, L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said Kraft does not “owe us anything.” Plaschke said Kraft “is moving on with his life” and he “should have the right to do that as he chooses." ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said, "If he went into hiding under his bunker, like his coach often does, then the story has legs.” MacMullan: “He wanted to put this to rest. I thought he did it with the right touch of humor” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 7/11). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said the video is “mortifying and embarrassing.” However, Kraft “just has to answer to his family” ("PTI," ESPN, 7/11).