Sports

Robert Kraft Said He Wants to Free Meek Mill

Kraft visited the rapper, who has drawn extensive support from professional sports world, and called for criminal-justice reform.


Robert Kraft and Charlie Baker

Photo via AP/Michael Dwyer

Robert Kraft wants to #FreeMeekMill.

The Patriots owner is calling for prison reform after visiting the rapper, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, in a Pennsylvania jail on Tuesday. Kraft, who told reporters he has gotten to know Mill over the last two to three years, said the rapper’s incarceration is emblematic of a much larger problem.

“Every time I see him, I just come away more impressed,” Kraft said. “He’s very intelligent and makes it clear to me we have to do something with criminal-justice reform.”

In November, Mill, a Philadelphia native, began serving a two-to-four-year sentence for violating the terms of his probation. After being convicted of gun charges in 2008, the rapper was released to house arrest in 2009, and has since been arrested several times for parole violations. Mill’s case has galvanized prison-reform advocates, including several professional athletes, who say his sentence is excessive.

Kraft, who visited Mill with Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin on Tuesday, joins several high-profile sports figures in advocating for the rapper’s release. Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, Julius Erving, and LeBron James have all signaled their support for Mill, and the Philadelphia Eagles shouted, “Free Meek!” following their 2018 Super Bowl victory.  Kraft echoed their calls on Tuesday.

“It’s just wrong, and we have to find a way to correct it,” Kraft said. “This guy is a great guy, shouldn’t be here. … It’s just really sad.”

Last week, the Massachusetts state legislature sent a comprehensive criminal-justice reform bill to Gov. Charlie Baker. The package eliminates some mandatory minimum sentences on “low-level drug offenses.”