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Ex-Attorney General to hear Deshawn Watson’s suspension

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has turned Deshawn Watson’s disciplinary action over to an attorney with ties to the league and expertise in domestic violence and sexual assault.

Goodell chose former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey on Thursday to hear the league’s appeal to suspend the Cleveland quarterback for six games without pay.

Watson was suspended this week by independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. Sue L. Robinson has concluded that she violated the league’s personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women in Texas.

The league, which had sought Watson’s indefinite suspension, called for more discipline and appealed Robinson’s ruling on Wednesday. Watson had just finished practice and was still on the field when he learned of the league’s move.

Under collective bargaining agreements, the appeal gave Goodell the power to enact penalties — which he routinely did during his tenure — but he instead gave Harvey, now a partner in a New York law firm, I chose to hear an appeal.

With a background in criminal law, Harvey has advised the NFL and other professional sports leagues on the development and implementation of workplace policies, including the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Harvey has represented Goodell in other arbitrations and is a member of the league’s Diversity Advisory Committee, which was created to improve racial and gender diversity across the NFL.

In 2017, Harvey was one of four members of an expert panel reviewing the league’s domestic violence investigation into Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Goodell chose the nominee to handle the Watson case because he wanted an expert in the field who could focus on the matter, a person familiar with Harvey’s appointment told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity citing internal circumstances.

Goodell is busy with the Hall of Fame weekend event in Canton, Ohio, and league meetings on Tuesday.

There is no timeline for when Harvey will hear the appeal. According to the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, it must be done quickly.

Following public outcry that the punishment was too light, the league appealed Robinson’s decision and sought further disciplinary action against Watson.

“Should the NFL’s appeal, based on Judge Robinson’s findings, amend the discipline to include professional evaluation and treatment, appropriate fines, and longer suspensions determined by a medical professional? It’s something to deal with,” the league said in a statement.

“Under the collective bargaining agreement, Mr. Harvey’s written decision “constitutes the complete, final and complete disposition of the dispute and is binding on the players, clubs and parties,” CBA.

Robinson, who was jointly nominated by the league and the NFL Players Association, called Watson’s behavior “vicious” and “predatory” in the 16-page ruling. The women alleged that the quarterback sexually assaulted or harassed him during a massage therapy session while he was playing for the Houston Texans.

A former federal judge concluded that Watson violated league policy by engaging in unwanted sexual contact with others, endangering the safety and well-being of others and undermining the league’s integrity. rice field.

However, in imposing the suspension, Robinson said the league’s guidelines on player misconduct were flawed, limiting her authority to punish him.

Robinson stipulated her punishment that Watson must use only club-approved massage therapists for the duration of his career.

The Browns traded three first-round draft picks to Houston in March and signed three-time Pro Bowler Watson to a five-year, $230 million deal. Because of the way Cleveland structured his contract, Watson ended up losing just $345,000 under Robinson’s ruling.

The 26-year-old continues to practice with the Browns, who are again in wait-and-see mode as they think Watson may only be gone for six games. The prospects are not so clear now for a team that had Super Bowl hopes after he signed one of the league’s top QBs.

Contributed by AP Pro Football Writer Rob Murdy.

Ex-Attorney General to hear Deshawn Watson’s suspension

Source link Ex-Attorney General to hear Deshawn Watson’s suspension

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