NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Appoints Former NJ Attorney General to Hear Deshaun Watson’s Suspension Appeal
The NFL said they intend to appeal the suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. The league hopes for an indefinite suspension (for a minimum of one season) along with a monetary fine.
On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal. As BLACK ENTERPRISE reported, Watson was suspended for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
“Mr. Harvey served as the Attorney General of New Jersey and is now a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York,” the league said Thursday in a written statement.
“He has also served as a federal prosecutor. He has deep expertise in criminal law, including domestic violence and sexual assault, and has advised the NFL and other professional leagues on the development and implementation of workplace policies, including the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Mr. Harvey has also served as the Commissioner’s designee in other arbitrations.”
In Robinson’s ruling on Monday, the former federal judge cited that the NFL successfully “carried its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson violated the (personal-conduct) policy” by engaging in “sexual assault; conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.”
Although the league argued that the Cleveland Browns quarterback should be suspended for, at minimum, the entire 2022 season, Robinson believes she was “bound ‘by standards of fairness and consistency of treatment among players similarly situated'” in her decision.
Watson did not participate in the 2021–2022 NFL season after 22 women alleged his sexual misconduct, as previously reported by BLACK ENTERPRISE. A second grand jury declined to indict the newly signed quarterback only two weeks after the first grand jury refused to indict him.
In March, Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause with the Houston Texans in exchange for a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Cleveland Browns. Fans and the media widely criticized this move.