NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday tabbed former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey to hear the league’s appeal of the six-game suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Earlier this week, former U.S. district Judge Sue L. Robinson, picked by the league and the NFLPA as an independent disciplinary officer, ruled Watson should be suspended six games without pay for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct.
He played for the Houston Texans at the time.
Two Texas grand juries decided not to indict Watson on criminal charges, and he has denied any wrongdoing. Still, he has settled 23 of the 24 civil suits brought against him by the women.
On Wednesday, the NFL appealed the decision, reportedly contending Robinson’s recommended suspension wasn’t lengthy enough. Goodell had the option to rule himself on the appeal or appoint a designee.
He chose Harvey, who isn’t a stranger to NFL issues.
Harvey is a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York and previously served as a federal prosecutor. He also has experience in domestic violence and sexual assault cases and has advised the NFL and other pro leagues on creating and implementing workplace policies, including the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
He also serves on the NFL diversity advisory committee.
Goodell has called on Harvey in the past to preside over arbitration cases, and the attorney was part of the committee that suspended Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys for violating the personal conduct policy in 2017.
The league reportedly is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year for Watson.