New Roger Goodell Appeals Designee Peter Harvey’s Legal History Suggests No Bias

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Peter Harvey became New Jersey’s first black Attorney General in 2003, but that was merely a milestone moment. As an assistant United States attorney Harvey prosecuted drug dealers, bank robbers and scam artists. He won a conviction of reputed New Jersey crime boss Albert Pontani.

He also represented one of the writers of the song ”Who Let the Dogs Out” in the 1990s.  

Now Peter C. Harvey is the designee for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and will hear the appeal of the disciplinary decision involving Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

From the NFL:

“Mr. Harvey served as the Attorney General of New Jersey and is now a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York. He has also served as a federal prosecutor. He has deep expertise in criminal law, including domestic violence and sexual assault, and has advised the NFL and other professional leagues on the development and implementation of workplace policies, including the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

“Mr. Harvey has also served as the Commissioner’s designee in other arbitrations. The NFL’s appeal addresses whether, based on the findings made by Judge Robinson, the discipline should be modified to include a professional evaluation and treatment as determined by medical experts, an appropriate fine, and a longer suspension.”

If one overlooks that Harvey has worked on the NFL’s behalf previously, his legal background gives no hint which direction he’d rule in the Watson appeal.

He was appointed Attorney General in New Jersey by former Democrat governor Jim McGreevey and as a special assistant to the New Jersey attorney general, he helped write the state’s law banning assault rifles.

So, liberal right?

Except Harvey has not been all about liberal causes.

Peter Harvey
NFL Appeals Designee Peter Harvey will hear the appeal of the Deshaun Watson decision

His anti-gang initiative resulted in increased number of cases against street gangs, including the arrest of 41 people charged with holding leadership roles in the Latin Kings, a large and powerful gang in the United States.

He has been on the side of corporations and private businesses, often against government legal action. Among the recent civil matters that Harvey has handled, he has …

  • Protected a major energy company from “whistleblower” claims made under a false claims act
  • Representing major pharmaceutical companies in Attorneys General investigations and suits brought under state consumer fraud statutes
  • Extracting a target from a federal criminal tax fraud investigation
  • Defending a commercial bank in contract litigation
  • Shielding an Internet ticket company from an Attorney General’s consumer fraud suit

And, yes, Harvey is familiar with NFL matters. Harvey is as a member of the league’s Diversity Advisory Committee, serving as a consulting expert with respect to the NFL’s effort to improve racial and gender diversity in the hiring of head coaches and senior executives throughout the NFL’s 32-member clubs and League office. 

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Mr. Harvey’s written decision “will constitute the full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s), and parties” to the CBA.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero


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