As Miranda’s warnings explain, Anything you say can and will be used against you. This concept applies in many other legal contexts and settings.
When it comes to candid comments Made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday regarding the Browns Deshaun WatsonA question arose as to whether Goodell’s comments would be repeated by the NFL Players Association in any final legal battle over the inevitable suspension imposed on Watson by appeals officer Peter Harvey.
Why wouldn’t they be? Goodell’s comments can be described as an attempt to send a strong and clear message to Harvey, who definitely wants to keep his relationship with the league and who will tend to give Goodell what Harvey thinks Goodell wants. Goodell tries to turn the scales of internal justice on his path by making sure that the judge knows what he wishes to happen by slathering the judge’s bread.
Having said that, Harvey already knows what Goodell wants. The league has been constantly seeking a suspension for at least one calendar year. With the start of the season looming, and the prospect of Watson playing in the NFL for the first time since the 2020 regular season ended, Harvey undoubtedly realizes that Goodell wants Watson to be banned from doing so.
Goodell could handle the appeal himself, making sure he got what he wanted. But since he knows Harvey is going to give Goodell what he wants anyway, why not build a layer of insulation if he knows he’ll get the same result he would have if he had done it himself?
“There were multiple violations here, and it was horrible and that was predatory behaviour,” Goodell told reporters about Watson. heinous. Predatory. How can Watson not be suspended for an entire year?
Did it make sense for Goodell to say something like, “We’ll defer comment until the legal process is over”? surely. But the legal subtleties must be weighed against the realities of public relations. Other than Browns fans who struggle (understandably) to separate their root concerns from the question of whether Watson has a full and proper account, most NFL fans would like to see Watson suspended for an entire year. Last week a PFT Twitter poll asked the preferred length of suspension with a selection of six games, eight games, 12 games and an entire season, Nearly 71 percent The answer was given by choosing the longest time.
The NFL is sensitive to this reality. Although some have accused the NFL of being excessively concerned with optics, the entire policy of personal behavior is based on optics. The vast majority of American employers don’t (and shouldn’t) care about off-duty behavior. The NFL, in agreement with the NFL Players Association, does. Supposed to. Fans who are expected to devote money and time to the product will expect action against players who misbehave, even when the misconduct has nothing to do with the NFL. (Of course, in this case, Watson used his NFL quarterback status to secure massages he tried to turn into sexual encounters. That wouldn’t help him on appeal.)
There is a clear separation between law and optics. This is why four violations, within the Four Pillars of the Personal Conduct Policy, are 24 (and up to 66) on the minds of anyone and everyone who has been paying attention. This is another reason the NFL threw the book at Watson. The league defines it as 24 (and up to 66). Harvey knows that, too. The federal judge presiding over the case, if/when there is one, will know that as well.
Maybe that’s why Goodell said what he said. Why wouldn’t he care if his words were repeated in court as part of the argument that Harvey was biased or prejudiced or whatever. Four is really 24, and you add up to 66. Everyone knows that. And it would be difficult for anyone to put it aside.
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