Schlafly Beer recently marked an important milestone. As was announced in numerous media, a group of investors led by my cousin David Schlafly has acquired a controlling interest in the company. As the chairman I couldn’t be more pleased. For one thing, David’s investment will provide us with an infusion of capital that will allow us to reduce our debt burden. Even more important than his cash are David’s mindset and commitment to the community. He has a proven record of success in business and involvement in countless worthy causes. He recognizes that businesses like ours have a civic responsibility, an obligation that he takes very seriously, as do I.
While David’s transaction was closing, I was en route to Louisville to watch The Kentucky Derby and support another worthy cause: Operation Open Arms (www.oparms.com), which provides assistance to the families of women who are incarcerated. The event was Silks In The Bluegrass, a gala of which Schlafly was the beer sponsor. We helped raise a lot of money for Operation Open Arms and had a lot of fun doing so.
On the day after the gala, I went to Churchill Downs and was actually ahead after placing modest bets on a half dozen races. When it came time for the 12th race, aka The Kentucky Derby, I placed what I thought was a winning bet on Maximum Security, the number 7 horse. For over 20 minutes I, like thousands of others, stood in line waiting to cash in what I thought was the winning ticket. Whoops! As thousands of alert readers (ARs) undoubtedly know, Maximum Security was disqualified after an extensive review of videotape purportedly showing a foul by his jockey, Luis Saez. Oh well.
Less than two weeks later I attended the third game of the playoff series between the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues. As most ARs most assuredly know, this game, like the Kentucky Derby, had a controversial ending. A videotape showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Sharks scored the winning goal after an illegal hand pass by Timo Meier. Unlike the results of the Kentucky Derby, as well as numerous other plays in hockey, the failure to call a hand pass under these circumstances is not reviewable, no matter how egregious the error. ARs who follow soccer might remember Diego Maradona’s “hand of God” goal, a similar violation that led to Argentina’s eliminating England in the 1986 World Cup tournament. Fortunately for the Blues, Timo Meier’s “hand of God” did not eliminate them from the playoffs. Rather, it inspired them to win the next three games decisively and qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 49 years.
It’s not just players on sports teams whose conduct can be videotaped and reviewed. As was reported in this space two months ago, owners too can be captured on tape while misbehaving. Unlike the films of players, however, some films of owners never see the light of day. While the State of Florida has an open records law that would appear to be all-encompassing, a judge recently found an exception in the Sunshine State’s sunshine law for evidence of a billionaire aiding and abetting human trafficking. I’m guessing that the lawyers who persuaded the judge to find this exception was paid a whole lot more than the victims of trafficking were paid for their “services.” While reflecting on what could have been one of many trials of the century, I was inspired to scribble a few lines of poetry for the occasion.
While lots of guys are really dumb, few things could be stupider
Or half as bad as Robert Kraft’s escapade in Jupiter.
Seventeen years ago the Patriots beat the Rams
Thanks to secret taping and hidden videocams.
And so it is ironic, secret taping once again
Brought down Robert Kraft and lots of other men.
Not everything is known. The story’s still unfolding.
But the instant replay shows there was offensive holding.
After a review, the original ruling stands.
The ruling is confirmed: illegal use of hands.
The taping also shows there was illegal motion.
Kraft was double-teamed with exotic body lotion.
There was illegal contact. At least that much is known.
There was a personal foul, and so a flag was thrown.
Kraft is now a problem for the NFL.
Is there a chance that he could end up in a prison cell?
If Kraft should go to prison, one thing is quite clear.
In prison, Kraft will not be drinking any decent beer.
No craft beer for Robert Kraft, who also should feel nervous
If his cellmate might demand Asian Day Spa service.
While Kraft might be able to avoid the criminal justice system in South Florida, there’s still the question of whether his behavior renders him unfit to own an NFL team. I would only add that the ethical bar for owning an NFL team would appear to be a lot lower than it is for investing in Schlafly Beer. I’m delighted to have David involved in our business. I would definitely not say the same for the NFL owners who colluded with Stan Kroenke to move the Rams out of town.
Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery