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Roger Goodell Appoints Arbitrator For Greg Hardy Appeal, Choice Is Bad News For Cowboys

The NFL is trying to keep Hardy's suspension at 10 games.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell has waived his right to hear Greg Hardy's appeal of his 10-game suspension, instead he has appointed an arbitrator. His choice, though, is not likely to sit well with Hardy or the NFLPA. Goodell has chosen Harold Henderson to hear the appeal, the same arbitrator who upheld the NFL's suspension of Adrian Peterson.

Why is that bad news for Dallas and Greg Hardy?

Henderson ruled in the Peterson case that the "new" domestic violence policy could apply to Peterson. FOX Sports explains:

The move is significant because Henderson, who is a league-appointed arbitrator, denied Peterson's appeal of his suspension back in December on the basis that Henderson believed the "new" domestic violence policy could be applied to Peterson. The NFLPA had argued Peterson's situation, like Hardy's, occurred under the "old" policy and should therefore result in a two-game suspension.

Hardy's appeal is likely to hinge on that same argument so it is unlikely that Henderson would change his mind this time around. But, in that previous case, the NFLPA filed a lawsuit that was heard by Judge David Doty.

The NFLPA appealed Henderson's decision via a federal lawsuit, and Judge David Doty ruled Henderson's logic in agreeing the NFL could unilaterally impose the new policy was flawed. Doty didn't overturn the suspension; rather, he kicked it back to Henderson, the NFL and the NFLPA and instructed them to go through the appeal process again. That never occurred because the NFL then reinstated Peterson.

The wrinkle in this case is that in suspending Hardy, the NFL never used the term "domestic violence", instead they relied on conduct detrimental to the league. Under that criteria, Goodell has suspended players like Adam Jones for one season and Chris Henry for eight games. The NFL is obviously trying to cover themselves by saying the old/new domestic violence rules have nothing to do with this case, thereby justifying a 10-game suspension. You can expect the NFLPA to argue that Hardy should be treated under the same rule that governed the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.

If Henderson upholds the 10-game suspension, you can certainly expect the NFLPA to file another lawsuit.

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