Report: Attorney General Peter C. Harvey Appointed As Roger Goodell’s Designee In Appeal Hearing Of Deshaun Watson

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Jake Furr/News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that NJ Attorney General Peter C. Harvey will serve as designee for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeal of Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension. Harvey, who once served as the Attorney General of New Jersey, currently is a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York. His expertise is in criminal law, which includes domestic violence and sexual assault. The NFL released a statement on Harvey being chosen as Goodell’s designee.

“Commissioner Goodell has appointed the Hon. Peter C. Harvey as his designee to hear the appeal of the disciplinary decision involving Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Mr. Harvey served as the Attorney General of New Jersey and is now a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York. 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. The NFL’s appeal addresses whether, based on the findings made by Judge Robinson, the discipline should be modified to include a professional evaluation and treatment as determined by medical experts, an appropriate fine, and a longer suspension. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Mr. Harvey’s written decision ‘will constitute the full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s), and parties’ to the CBA.”

ProFootballTalk was first to report on Twitter that the league will turn to someone outside of Roger Goodell to handle the matter.

The NFL filed an appeal of Judge Sue L. Robinson’s six-game suspension of Watson on Wednesday. NFL’s Brian McCarthy issued a statement regarding the league’s decision to appeal on Wednesday.

“On Monday, Judge. Sue L. Robinson, the independent Disciplinary Officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association, issued her ruling in the Personal Conduct Policy matter regarding Deshaun Watson. Under the 2020 NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed. Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games. The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer. Such an appeal must be filed within three days and would be heard by the Commissioner or his designee. The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.”

The NFL Players Association issued a statement saying that they will not appeal Judge Robinson’s ruling, but the NFL has allegedly been wanting to impose a longer suspension of the quarterback. Reports say that the NFL is seeking to impose an indefinite suspension on Watson, which would last through the entire 2022 season at minimum.