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MLS commissioner: league’s personal conduct policy applies to Robert Kraft

MLS Commissioner Don Garber speaks to members of the media at the State of the League address ahead of the MLS Cup. (Jordan Culver-Pro Soccer USA)

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league has a personal conduct policy that applies to all members, even club owners, when pressed by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday evening that also touched on charges facing New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft, an American businessman who also owns the New England Patriots and helped establish MLS in 1996, has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution in Florida.

“Yes, all of us, whether it’s the commissioner, it’s staff, players or an owner has a conduct policy,” Garber said in response to Twellman. “Correct.”

The ESPN interview, which was largely meant to be a preview for the 2019 regular season, faced two American soccer celebrities with strong ties to Kraft in front of one another.

Garber, who just signed a new contract to remain league commissioner through 2023, was originally tabbed for the position by Kraft and Lamar Hunt. Kraft and Hunt knew Garber from his time working in the National Football League, where he served as a marketing executive.

Twellman, meanwhile, played for the Revolution from 2002 to 2010. He is widely believed to be the best player in the club’s history, having scored 101 goals.

Both the NFL and MLS have made similar remarks about respecting the ongoing judicial process, though the NFL was the first of the two sports organizations to comment on whether Kraft could face discipline.

“You know all leagues have a commissioner or give the commissioner a broad authority on addressing these kind of incidents, whether it’s a player, whether it’s a staff member or whether it’s an owner, and we’re going to continue to monitor it closely,” Garber told ESPN.

“We’re aware of the case down in Florida and are following the developments closely. . . . Obviously, it is a legal proceeding, and as such, I probably can’t comment any further.”

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