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Roger Goodell Won’t Handle Deshaun Watson Appeal Process

Editors’ note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not hear the appeal of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has confirmed. Thursday’s news was first reported by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.  

Goodell has tabbed New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal’s suspension, per Breer. Harvey is also a member of the NFL’s diversity advisory committee, and in 2017, he served on the committee that suspended Ezekiel Elliott six games under the league’s personal conduct policy

The NFL released a statement Wednesday announcing its decision to appeal the suspension. The NFL could also issue Watson a monetary fine in addition to an extension on his current suspension. 

Watson was suspended six games Monday following an NFL investigation into the sexual harassment and assault allegations levied against the Browns’ quarterback. More than two dozen women have detailed graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions, with the accounts ranging from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.” 

Watson settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him in June 2022. He then reportedly settled three additional civil suits before Monday’s disciplinary decision. Watson has denied all allegations against him. 

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