Typically, the only times you ever hear about off-field personnel in the NFL are for really, really good news events (like John Harris or any other species of homo sapiens who could scrounge up the money to buy the Washington NFL franchise from Dan Snyder), or for something really, really bad. Unfortunately for the Houston Texans, part of their ownership group just made headlines for the bad reason.
News sources reported that Texans minority owner Javier Loya is facing multiple charges of sexual assault in Kentucky. ESPN reported that court documents from the Commonwealth in Kentucky indicate Loya is “facing one count of first-degree rape, five counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree sexual abuse.” Loya was indicted back on May 10 in Jefferson County Circuit Court, and that he plead not guilty on May 15, posting a $50,000 bond. The next step is that Loya will attend a pre-trial conference on August 22.
With the news going public, the obligatory public statements followed.
From the Houston Texans:
“We are aware of the serious charges filed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky against Javier Loya, one of our outside limited partners...We have agreed with Mr. Loya that while these charges are pending, he will remove himself entirely from any team or League activities.”
From the NFL:
“The club promptly notified the league of the serious pending charges against Mr. Loya after they were filed,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “Mr. Loya has not been permitted to participate in any league or club activity during this process. He is no longer on any league committees.”
Loya has held a minority stake in the Houston Texans since 2002. He is also the co-founder of OTC Global Holdings, an independent brokerage company.
Of note, all of the dates mentioned start back in May, and both the NFL and Texans indicated that they acted swiftly when they heard the Loya news. So why is this just hitting the headlines? While it is somewhat understandable that neither the Texans nor the NFL would be in a hurry to broadcast this information, Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk had some interesting takes on the matter:
“Amazingly, the situation stayed under wraps for nearly three months. It’s possible, if not likely, that the media in Louisville covering the criminal courts did not realize that Loya was a part owner of an NFL team. And the media in Houston had not caught wind of it.
The matter came to light after a reader in Houston provided PFT with a tip on Sunday night. We then worked to confirm with the team or the league that Loya was indeed the defendant. Frankly, the process took much longer than it should have taken, especially if both the team and the league knew about the situation since May 10 — and if they were (as they should have been) bracing for an inevitable question from someone in the media.”
This is Mike Florio, so make of that what you will. Still, not a great look for all concerned. This is not Loya’s first time generating some negative attention, as CBS Sports reported that he was involved in some “high-stakes gambling” in 2008. Apparently, whatever came out of those actions was not enough for the NFL or the Texans to dissociate themselves from Loya. Prior to these charges, Loya served on the NFL’s Diversity Community.
We do not know about the victim(s), nor do we know the details behind the charges at this time. This is for the legal system to figure out and to determine guilt or innocence. Given the Texans’ recent history of bad press and key figures dealing with significant legal accusations of the worst types of crimes, this is not territory the franchise is eager to revisit.
Unfortunately, for all the hype and hope associated with this iteration of the team, not everything will be so optimistic. This probably will not completely overshadow the start of preseason for the team, but it is not likely to just fade away for Houston either. More to follow in the days and weeks ahead.