Roger Goodell had the option of hearing Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal of his six-game suspension himself or appointing a designee. He’s going with the latter. Harold Henderson will make the decision on behalf of the league, the league announced Wednesday.
Henderson will hear Elliott’s appeal on Aug. 29, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Elliott was issued a six-game suspension last week for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The suspension stems from allegations of domestic violence by Elliott’s former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, made against the Cowboys running back last July.
The Columbus Police Department and Columbus City Attorney’s Office both declined to charge Elliott with a crime, due in part to witness statements that contradicted Thompson’s version of events. But the league does not rely on the same burden of proof as the legal system. The NFL can issue suspensions for conduct detrimental to the league without an arrest or a conviction.
The decision to appoint a designee may make a big difference on the outcome for Elliott. Goodell did not participate in the interview the league’s independent advisors held with Elliott, but he did personally make the decision to suspend Elliott for six games.
Henderson is the league’s former executive vice president of labor relations. He was named as Goodell’s designee for Greg Hardy’s and Adrian Peterson’s appeals. He reduced Hardy’s suspension from 10 games to four. Peterson’s appeal was denied and he remained suspended for an entire season.