NFL will appeal Deshaun Watson ruling, looking for year-long suspension

By Noah Constantino

According to reports, the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine in appealing a disciplinary officer’s decision to suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

The news that Judge Sue Robinson had declared that Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson would be suspended for six games of the 2022 NFL season for violating NFL policies  shocked many in the football world who believed the suspension to be “too light.”

Robinson was the person that both parties had agreed on to preside over the case and make a decision. After her decision was made, the NFL had two choices: Accept the ruling and enforce the suspension or appeal the decision and impose a punishment that they saw fit. The NFL has made the latter decision and will be pushing not only for a year-long suspension but a fine for Watson to pay and for the quarterback to undergo treatment.

The NFLPA had already announced on Monday that they would not appeal the six-game suspension as they “stand by her decision.” However, they also decided that if the NFL were to appeal the decision, they were prepared to sue. The NFLPA now has until Friday to respond to Goodell and the league. In that case, the appeal will be taken to federal court.

If and when the NFLPA files their response, it will yet again be up to Roger Goodell to either appoint a designee or to hear the appeal himself. Once that decision is made, a hearing date will also be set.

The appeal will involve only evidence that was presented and brought up during the hearing at the end of this past June. References to evidence or testimony prior to or outside of the hearing will not be considered.

In that case, it is important to know what Sue Robinson had to say about the evidence presented to her. To start, Robinson was not set in charge of proving Deshaun Watson guilty or innocent of his accusations. That would be the responsibility of the NFL. Even with the recommendation from the NFL for a year-long suspension, Robinson made the decision of six games after reviewing the evidence given to her.

In this evidence, Robinson found that Watson created “a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.” Robinson also stated that Watson’s actions did not fall under the description of violent conduct that would require the minimum six game suspension. She also stated that her decision was based on factors about Watson’s positive reception before the allegations were made last year.

Just when it was thought that all the drama would be over, it seems only to be getting worse as lawsuits will be on the NFL’s front doorstep. This looks to be an ordeal that will bleed well into the NFL season putting a damper on a much-awaited debut from Watson as a Cleveland Brown.

The plan the NFL had put in place seemingly backfired on them, leaving Goodell and the league to try and pick up the pieces. Obviously unhappy with the decision they will push for a year-long suspension in an appeal that essentially has no timetable… Grab your popcorn because this is where the real action begins.

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