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Roger Goodell refuses to say whether he will punish Robert Kraft

Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated that the NFL’s personal conduct policy applies to everyone in the league.FILE/LM OTERO/ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

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PHOENIX — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answered his first questions about Robert Kraft’s legal issues Tuesday night at the league owners meetings but declined to provide insight into whether he intends to punish Kraft, or the timeline for his decision.

Kraft, completing his NFL business as usual for three days this week at the Arizona Biltmore, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two misdemeanor counts of solicitation in Florida. Goodell reiterated the league’s personal conduct policy applies to everyone in the league but declined to say whether he will punish Kraft, regardless of how his legal situation is resolved.


Kraft may ultimately get his charges dropped in a plea agreement, but Goodell has set a precedent with Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, and others of suspending players for several games even though they were never charged with a crime. Kraft released a statement on Saturday in which he stated he was “truly sorry.”

“I think we said several weeks ago the personal conduct policy applies to everybody — commissioner, owners, executives, players, coaches — and it will be applied to everybody,” Goodell said Tuesday night. “But it will be done after we get all the facts, we have all the information, and we’ll be fair and smart about it.”

Goodell wouldn’t commit to a timeline for a decision on Kraft. He said it wouldn’t necessarily coincide with the resolution of Kraft’s legal case.

“When we get all the facts,” Goodell said. “That includes anything that might be pertinent to this. I’m not going to speculate where we are or my views on anything. Until we get all the information, I’m not going to entertain any discussions or any other comments.”

Goodell also was asked about suspended Patriots receiver Josh Gordon but wouldn’t commit to a timeline for his potential return to the field. Gordon, suspended in Week 16 of last season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, has been receiving mental health treatment and staying in shape in Gainesville, Fla.


“The first thing right now is the focus on Josh himself as a young man, and what he needs to do to get his life on the right track,” Goodell said. “Once he gets on the right track we’ll get to that place. But I think right now he’s had a complete focus on, ‘I’ve got to get myself off the field and in the right place before I can get back on the field.’ ”