Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided not to personally handle the appeal of the Deshaun Watson suspension, even though the Commissioner had the power to do so under the Personal Conduct Policy. He has instead delegated the matter to former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey.
There’s no specific deadline for Harvey to issue a ruling, but the policy requires that it be “expedited.” There’s also no requirement in the policy or the Collective Bargaining Agreement for a hearing on appeal. It’s possible, however, that the NFL Players Association has asked for one.
Whenever Harvey makes his decision, the question is whether it will be anything other than the punishment the NFL has requested. Frankly, there’s no reason to believe he’ll deviate from what the league has requested, unless the plan consists of asking for a full season and as a way to make, say, a 12-game suspension seem less harsh.
Whatever Harvey does, it’s fair to think it will be exactly what Goodell would have done on his own. Although Harvey isn’t a league employee, he has close ties to the NFL. He helped develop the current version of the Personal Conduct Policy, adopted in the aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle. Harvey also advised the Commissioner in connection with the Ezekiel Elliott case.