By TomE. Curran
NEW ORLEANS - Robert Kraft's got responsibilities that extend far beyond the local entrant in the National Football League. Corporations, charities, businesses - he's got a plateful.
Still, it must have pained him to be absent from the final negotiating sessions with the players before the lockout began. He was in Israel on a trade mission with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patriots left tackle Matt Light said he was disappointed Kraft wasn't at the final sessions. On Monday, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said,"I respect Matt and I appreciate Matt's comments, but we do a lot of things other than just the New England Patriots."Something that's particularly important to Robert is the economy and job creation for people in all industries across the Commonwealth," added Jonathan Kraft. "This is a trade mission that had been worked on for a long time. Israel is a real center of high-tech anda lot of Israeli companies are choosing to pick Massachusetts as their corporate headquarters and this was about solidifying that and having more companies be comfortable coming to Massachusetts and create jobs. It was something he'd personally been working on a long time and he wasn't going to give that up. He helped put the whole thing together and it was something very personal for him.
"That being said, he didn't miss a call concerning the NFL labor talks, he didn't miss an e-mail, and he was up to all hours of the night. He was intimately involved with what was going on in the negotiations."Colts owner Jim Irsay also had the elder Kraft's back. "Bob had had that trip planned," said Irsay. "Part of being an owner is juggling many things. He's certainly had an impact. There are some times when you have to keep many things going, when you have many business commitments and people are depending on you. His trip was important and the negotiation is important. It's his judgment on how he balances both. It's not right to throw him under the bus and say, 'He should have been there, he doesn't care.'
"Many of us have different businesses and different things we do. Government people depend on us so you have to keep those commitments, too." Tom E. Curran canbe reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
By TomE. Curran