Source: Roger Goodell will not handle the Deshaun Watson appeal

USA TODAY Sports

Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to personally handle the Deshaun Watson appeal hearing. He will not be exercising it.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Goodell will not be handling the Watson appeal. He will designate the matter to someone outside the league office.

We don’t know who that is. A decent guess would be Mary Jo White, given that she has recently handled various “independent investigations” for the NFL, and in light of the fact that she does a very good job of giving her client that which it wants.

Regardless of the specific name of the person retained to handle the Watson appeal, the key to getting more such work is to give the client what it wants. Even if the league calls the person “independent,” they really aren’t. They’ll have some sort of hope for an ongoing business relationship with the league, and that will influence the decision-making process.

A separate source with knowledge of the process suggested that the designee for the appeal possibly will be Condolleezza Rice, who is slated to officially become a part owner of the Broncos next week. Again, she wouldn’t be truly independent; she’s about to become an equity holder in one of the league’s teams. Her reputation, however, would make it easier for the league to sell to media and fans the possibility that she will be able to set aside other interests and make the right decision.

That said, Rice is an admitted Browns fan. Recently, Rice commented on the disciplinary process, advocating the importance of keeping an open mind but acknowledging the serious nature of the matter.

62 responses to “Source: Roger Goodell will not handle the Deshaun Watson appeal

  1. so she will bump his suspension to 6 games 1 quarter… this is an absolute joke if he doesnt get a year min.

  2. I wonder who they could get. Maybe somebody with Federal Court experience. I remember a certain retired Judge named Sue L. Robison who could probably do it.

  3. Yeah, it’s going to be Mary Jo White and it’s going to be a slam dunk for her to give Roger what he wants. Robinson’s reasons for arriving at six games weren’t compelling; they were dryly legalistic and failed to take into account the seriousness of multiple acts of sexual assault. Watson and the NFLPA have a very brief time to try to get the NFL to accept a deal of 10-12 games suspended and a $5M or so fine. Otherwise, within two weeks we’re going to see White “independently” decide to suspend Watson for at least the whole season and pay a fine of between $6M and $11M. (If he was still with the Texans and was suspended this season, he’d lose around $11M.)

    Condoleeza Rice would add some gravitas to all this, but why bother? Everybody knows how the appeal process works already, and the vast majority of people support the NFL’s wishes in this case.

  4. well done like dinner is the QB see ya next year and unless there is a five million dollar fine attached n yer reputation going forward will forever be crap… enjoy losing yer $25 buck salary this year n may karma attract tearing an achilles or acl in training camp the next … so sad n too bad.

  5. He knows people will complain if it’s not a lifetime ban and he wants to be insulated from any of that.

  6. Don’t care who actually passes the sentence, just so it is long and has a big fine.

    Is Judge Roy Bean available?

  7. Told ya. OF COURSE if will be him, but he assigns someone else to try to fool people.

    We know it’s you, Rodger. Whoever it is, they’ll tack on 2 games for 8, which is why the Browns have been told to “brace for 8”.

    So predictable. He should be gone for the year and possibly banned for life.

    24 victims. 24 lives and families affected over this.

  8. What happened to the days of the commissioner issuing punishment?? Be a man Goodell!!

  9. How quickly everyone changes opinion.Few weeks ago Goodell is a bum who mishandles every case and now you want him to drop the hammer!Do this himself when he gets bashed because in your opinion he isn’t impartial.Whichway do you want this?Watson should be suspended a year minimum.But there is a process in place that needs to be followed.Let it play out.

  10. Since Roger has the right to overrule with his own decision he will own the final result no matter who’s name they put on the ruling.

  11. Goodell may be a coward, but not for having someone else hear the Watson appeal. I mean, come on, the NFL is a party to the dispute seeking the 1 year ban — should the NFL commissioner be the one deciding the appeal? There couldn’t be a bigger conflict of interest. The appointee may not be squeaky and independently clean, but at least there would be some semblance of independence.

  12. NFL fans: Roger has too much power!!!

    NFL fans one minute later: Roger doesn’t do enough, grow a pair!!

  13. They give him a year with a 1M dollar fine, he appeals and gets 8 games and a 800K fine.

    I just saved everybody a lot of time and money. Another person going down with no proof of wrongdoing. I’m not oblivious to the fact that where there’s smoke there’s fire. Our rules say innocent until proven guilty.

    That’s not happening here.

  14. Roger won’t hear the appeal…..he will just pull the puppet stings for whomever does.

  15. I feel very bad for the women Watson (allegedly) abused, and very sad for all the men whom have lost sight of what this story is about. Right now it seems to be all about protocols and not actual proper punishment. It’s quite simple, Deshaun Watson used his status, his wealth, his privilege, his size, his strength, his celebrity to (allegedly) abuse up to 100 women (said another way, 100 sisters, daughters, wives, etc). He went out of his way to prey on the weak, women who didn’t have the voice or the resources to adequately defend themselves. And yet we’re quibbling about the number of games he should forfeit. No comments about the quarter billion contract. The whole thing is disgusting. It’s a mental sickness of anyone who is not outraged at rewarding a sexual predator (hope no one abuses your sister or daughter) I finally now fully understand all the uproar about misogyny over the last few years. Deshaun Watson should lose the privilege of his job in the NFL, should lose his contract, should have the ability for a 2nd chance in a couple of yrs if he seeks, gets and passes help for his problem. It just saddens me what a corrupt and immoral culture we’ve become, and most seem to be fine with it.

  16. What a charade. All for optics. It’s a year at the end of all of this and we all know it already.

  17. So what? Whoever is only going to do what Roger tells them. Can’t get any more transparent than that.

  18. Typical Roger the Dodger move. Always passing his duties as Commish to someone else. SMH. He needs to go.

  19. As often as he ruins everything he touches it may actually be for the best he doesn’t get involved.

  20. “What happened to the days of the commissioner issuing punishment?? Be a man Goodell!!”

    Why are they paying this guy all that money if he can’t handle these situations on his own? Is he the Commissioner or not?

  21. The punishment must come down from a woman’s prospective so for once I actually agree with Roger Goodell on this one. He may have not been charged and convicted of crimes but a judge did find him guilty of violating the personal conduct policy by using massages for sexual gratification. Those who feel he deserves a lifetime ban should be questioning the State of Texas on why he was never convicted and charged with a sex crime, not the NFL. They are now limited in how severe the punishment can be.

  22. browns023 says:
    August 4, 2022 at 10:54 am
    I wonder who they could get. Maybe somebody with Federal Court experience. I remember a certain retired Judge named Sue L. Robison who could probably do it.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    She already screwed it up. I would not worry… All of you Browns fans who care about nothing but winning a football game…. Watson in reality is nothing special as a QB either. You think you are getting a star and you are getting an average QB and the Browns are still going to be losers and even a bigger joke in the NFL. Enjoy.

  23. If Rice is truly a Brown’s fan, she should do everything in her power to keep Watson, who went 4-12 the last time he was a starter, off the field for as long as possible.

  24. Everyone talking about innocent until proven guilty this is not a court of law this is the NFL their rules go by the CBA that the players union agreed to if you don’t like them the players need to fight for more next time. As far as who’s going to hear the appeal I don’t care as long as they give watching the full year at least. In my opinion anyone who abuses women or children should be thrown out of the league for life but that’s never going to happen because Talent always over rules Behavior

  25. I agree with Florio. Even if Goodell designatessomeone else, they will still be working for Goodell and they will know exactly what he wants….one year, minimum.

  26. ” It’s quite simple, Deshaun Watson used his status, his wealth, his privilege, his size, his strength, his celebrity to (allegedly) abuse up to 100 women”

    24 or so women is more than enough to show what Watson is…..no need to make up a number (100)

  27. Just like Owners will be held to a higher standard. Maybe it will be a different person but dont kod yourself this will be the Owners and Goodells decision

  28. …..and whoever Goodell picks will also be tasked with investigating the Houston Texans and what their punishment should be for facilitating Watson’s conduct while in Houston.

  29. This is a steaming pile for the NFL and the NFLPA. At what point do the players who the NFLPA represent ask why they are paying to sue the NFL and attack a procedure collectively bargained for. Oh, and not to mention the judge determined Watson did what he was accused of. Both sides should agree to settle the matter with the league to looking elsewhere for more penalties.

  30. Personally I couldn’t care less about the suspension length (and neither should you) because it came from a mutually agreed upon arbitration process between the NFL and the NFLPA and was based on precedent. Now that the NFL can just appeal the ruling (to itself) means that the CBA is about as rock solid as NFL players’ contracts, which can be cancelled by the team, but not by the player.

  31. Kessler will take the NFL down in Court, unless the Judge is already bought off by the NFL

  32. Doesn’t matter who handles it, the whole thing is rigged. Everything the NFL does is rigged it feels like.

  33. the public has ruled. can’t you hear the voices? its all over. you don’t think it now. he is done. boycotts coming. he isn’t getting away with this. he will be crucified as soon as FB is in full swing again.

  34. I think it’s more probable than not that Goodell will assign the appeal to his buddy Jeff Pash, who will immediately employ Exponent Labs. Pash will break away from his Washington Commanders investigation/leaks to spin an appeal excuse for Watson with guidance from Goodell.

  35. Nothing is ever written about how little money D. Watson stood to lose. If players get in trouble they can get out of a current contract and sign a lucrative end loaded contract knowing to get paid a small amount the first year so they (with the help of the team) evade losing money that other players serving a suspension would have to give up if they were serving a six game suspension. Take a look at the difference between D. Hopkins and D. Watson and the amount of money lost only because one guy signed a contract knowing he was going to be suspended.

  36. For the longest time we’ve heard that his punishment would be 6 to 8 games even though the league wanted a year suspension the 6-8 games was still being promoted as where it would ultimately end up. Even after all the additional lawsuits came out still 6-8. The Browns had to have received that wink and a nod assurance before they signed him to that monster contract.

  37. Since I stayed at a Holiday Inn last week, I have the knowledge to settle this. Watson will issue a bogus apology, double pinkie swear he will never do it again, and pay a $25 fine. Next case….

  38. Even if the six-game suspension is upheld, what are the chances that a QB out of the league for a year and a half, on a new team, and under a microscope will excel? I hope he does because it will make the AFC North a tougher division than it already is, but I am not holding my breath. A full-year suspension and Watson will be a shell of his former self.

  39. Not sure why they call it an “appeal”, the outcome is pretty much a given.

  40. Goodell is a coward because the ball is in his hands and rather than stand up and do the right thing (whatever that is) he is handing it off to a yet another third party so that he can claim he did his very best. Now let’s play some football!

  41. Those 2023 draft picks from Cleveland sure are looking good for the Texans!

    Could / should be in the top 8 to 10!

  42. I say we let ladies of THe View chew on him for a whole hour on tv, then decide his fate. We could make it a PPV and the proceeds could benefit NFL Charities.

  43. I think Mr Watson should be suspended for 17 games, and receive a further 1 year suspended depending future misdemeanours. That should focus his mind.

  44. iliketurtles says:
    August 4, 2022 at 11:30 am
    NFL fans: Roger has too much power!!!
    NFL fans one minute later: Roger doesn’t do enough, grow a pair!!

    And yet both statements are correct, depending on the circumstance. 99% of the time the first statement applies. In regards to Watson though, the second statement applies.

  45. Goodell will give it to White to resolve. She will increase the penalty to twelve games, which sounds about right to me.

  46. Just wondering: Can White split the punishment between 2022 and 2023? Maybe six games in each year? The Browns and Watson got cute when they agreed to pay Watson a much smaller amount in 2022 than the years thereafter. They were hoping to minimize the money Watson loses while sitting out the penalty.

  47. Goddell is such a coward! He is the commissioner he should have suspended him indefinitely before he was traded.. Houston knew what he was doing they should not have been able to wipe their hands clean. But at the end of the day Cleveland is Clevland.

  48. Come on, Roger!! This is on you. You make the big bucks, now earn them. Exempt list this year, and suspension next season!! This predator needs to understand his wrong doings!!

  49. DISGUSTING!!! The entire situation is beyond disgusting. Watson’s actions from the start to where we are today. He will be forever labeled as a predator and pervert….as he should be. The Cleveland Browns, who claim to have done their due diligence….I guess the only DD they did was researching what the devil would pay for franchise’s soul. And morals aside, they vastly overpaid for a player who is middling to upper tier talent at best. He’s no Brady, Mahones or Rodgers. Finally, the NFL. What was once considered a model for a sports league has devolved into a league of criminals, their enablers, conmen and greedy plantation owners. Shameful & disgusting. All of it.

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