NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been told to testify in Ray Rice’s appeal of his indefinite suspension, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, the neutral arbiter selected to hear the appeal, informed the parties of her decision Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the appeal have not been made public.
Since this isn’t a criminal case, it’s uncertain whether Goodell will actually testify in a private arbitration. He said earlier this month he would leave the decision to Judge Jones.
“We will continue to respect Judge Jones’ confidentiality order regarding this proceeding,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.
NFL lawyers have argued that Goodell shouldn’t have to testify, and instead were offering testimony from Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, and Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president for labor policy. Pash and Birch were with Goodell when he met with Rice’s side in June to talk about what happened when the former Pro Bowl running back hit his then-fiancée in an elevator.
Rice described details of the incident at that meeting. Goodell has called Rice’s description “ambiguous” while Rice’s side has maintained he gave exact details.
The hearing will be held Nov. 5 and 6, two people familiar with the case told the AP on Tuesday.
Jones was jointly picked by the commissioner and the players’ union to hear the appeal. The union said at the time that Goodell’s testimony as a witness would be crucial in the proceedings.
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