Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Visits Meek Mill In Prison & Calls For His Freedom
When the Philadelphia Eagles paraded their Super Bowl LII victory in the streets of the city, Meek Mill’s “Dreams And Nightmares” was the soundtrack blasting from speakers. More than five years old, the intro to Meek’s album of the same name had become an anthem to the 2017 Eagles. It played as the team took the field ahead of its championship victory. It played in the locker-room after the Birds clinched their NFC title.
Meek, one of Philadelphia’s mainstream Hip-Hop stars of the 2010s, was not at the game or the parade, which routed just blocks away from a former residence. He is currently serving a two-to-four-year sentence in a Pennsylvania prison for three instances of violating probation. Many are calling for the 30-year-old rapper’s freedom, citing everything from unfair sentencing to allegations of corruption against the Philadelphia Police Department task force unit that arrested Meek in addition to the longtime judge presiding over his case. During a celebratory time for the city, #FreeMeekMill t-shirts, banners, and chants were an accessory to its first Super Bowl title. As a team regarded itself as an underdog, they brandished the “Dreams & Nightmares” music of an artist many perceive as being overlooked and mistreated.
That alone makes it surprising that the owner of the team Philly defeated may be interested in Meek Mill. Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, visited Meek Mill in a Chester, Pennsylvania prison yesterday (April 10). NBC-10 filmed the CEO and Chairman of The Kraft Group speaking outside the penitentiary after seeing an entertainer he has known for some time. “[Meek Mill is] an amazing young man,” 76-year-old Kraft said outside the State Correctional Institution-Chester on Tuesday. “I know how I’d feel if I were in the situation he is. He’s very intelligent.” The Maybach Music Group artist and the man who donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration fund share a friend: entrepreneur (and part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers) Michael Rubin. Kraft said, “I’ve had the pleasure, through Michael, [of] getting to know him over the last two to three years — maybe even longer. Every time I see him, I just come away more impressed. It makes it clear to me we have to do something with criminal justice reform.”
The Columbia and Harvard-educated Kraft expounded on that reform. “I know some of our players in the NFL have talked about this. I see it firsthand. It’s just wrong,” he said, seemingly alluding to long sentences. “We have to find a way to correct it and also help the community help themselves. It’s just sad. This guy is a great guy—shouldn’t be here. And then think of all the taxpayers here paying for people like this to be in jail and not out being productive.”
Last November, Kraft was among the NFL franchise owners that were reported to be deposed for Colin Kaepernick’s grievance against the league owners for colluding against letting him play. Six weeks prior, Kraft released a statement against Donald Trump’s labeling NFL players who protest the national anthem as “sons of b*tches,” and urging owners, like Kraft, to fire them. “I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft wrote in a statement. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.” During the 2017 season, there were as many as 16 Patriots who knelt at a time during the anthem. At another game, against the Carolina Panthers, all Pats players reportedly remained standing.
Earlier, this month, Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley denied a request to reconsider the sentence and bail of Meek Mill. Meanwhile, according to Billboard, “Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a motion to the Supreme Court, in which he states he ‘does not oppose defendant’s application to the extent he requests release on bail pending the current proceedings, but opposes all other requested relief at this time.'” Last month, Judge Brinkley denied requests from the rapper’s legal team to recuse herself from his case.
Kraft is the latest high-profile supporter of Meek Mill. Others include Lebron James, JAY-Z, Julius Erving, and one of Mill’s music industry mentors, Rick Ross.