CLEVELAND ( Associated Press) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has assigned Deshan Watson’s case to a league attorney with experience dealing with claims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Goodell tapped former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey on Thursday to rule on the appeal of the Cleveland quarterback’s six-game unpaid suspension. At stake in the matter is how long Watson will miss out with the Browns.
Independent disciplinary representative Sue L. Robinson fined Watson this week, saying the athlete had violated the league’s individual behavior policy after two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct in Texas.
The league – which was seeking a major disciplinary sanction and an indefinite suspension for Watson – appealed Robinson’s decision on Wednesday.
Watson had just finished practice and was still on the field after learning of the league’s move.
By collective agreement, the appeal restores Goodell’s authority to decide the sentence—something he normally did during his tenure—but the commissioner chose to put Harvey, a partner at a law firm in New York, for review. and resolve the issue of appeal.
The league highlighted Harvey’s credentials, noting that he has “extensive experience in criminal law, including cases of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, and that he has helped the NFL and other professional leagues over the development and implementation of venue policies.” advised.” workplace, such as the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.”
Pursuant to Goodell’s decision, Harvey has also addressed other arbitrations and is a member of the league’s diversity advisory committee, which is designed to improve the environment around racial and gender diversity in the NFL.
Goodell chose Harvey because he wished a subject matter expert had the ability to focus solely on the issue, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
In 2017, Harvey was one of four members of an expert panel that reviewed the league’s investigation into the Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended six games for violating league policy after an allegation was.
The NFL commissioner decided to hire someone else to handle Watson’s case, as Goodell himself wanted an expert in the field to focus solely on the matter, a person familiar with the appointment told the Associated Press. .
The source requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter.
Goodell will be busy with the Hall of Fame weekend and league meetings on Tuesday.
There is no deadline for Harvey to rule on the appeal. In accordance with the league’s personal conduct policy, the matter must be processed expeditiously.
Partly due to public outcry that the suspension was too mild, the league has appealed Robinson’s decision and wants Watson to serve a harsher sentence.
“The NFL’s appeal shows whether, based on Judge Robinson’s findings, the disciplinary action should be modified to include professional assessment and treatment, as determined by medical experts, a reasonable fine and a lengthy suspension,” he said. League in a statement.
“According to the Collective Agreement, Mr. Harvey’s written decision shall constitute a full, final and complete resolution of the Dispute and shall be bound by the Player(s) and other parties bound by the Collective Agreement.”
In his 16-page ruling, Robinson, which was commissioned jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association, described Watson’s conduct as “obvious” and “predatory.”
The women accused the quarterback of sexual assault or harassment during a massage session when Watson was playing for the Houston Texans.
The former federal judge concluded that Watson had violated league policy by engaging in unwanted sexual contact with others, endangering the safety and well-being of others, and undermining the integrity of the league.
However, when enforcing the six-game suspension, Robinson pointed out that loopholes in the league’s guidelines for player misconduct limited his authority to punish him.
Robinson stipulated in his sentence that Watson should only use club-approved masseuses for the duration of his career.