FOOTBALL

NFL Commissioner Goodell selects former attorney general to hear Watson appeal — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handed off Deshaun Watson’s discipline case to a lawyer with league connections 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 of the six-game suspension without pay given to Cleveland’s quarterback, whose playing status hangs in the balance. Watson was suspended this week by independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, who concluded he violated the league’s personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in Texas. The league, which had been pushing for an indefinite suspension for Watson, wanted further 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 the collective bargaining agreement, the appeal gave power back to Goodell to enact punishment, but he instead chose Harvey, currently a partner at a law firm in New York, to hear the 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 served as Goodell’s designee in other arbitrations, and he’s a member of the league’s Diversity Advisory Committee, created to improve racial and gender diversity across the NFL.

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— Bulletin wire reports

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