On Wednesday, the NFL announced that it will appeal Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension. The league is also keen on a full season suspension following the six-game without pay decision which was made earlier this week on Monday as Watson was found guilty of violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Via a release, the NFL confirmed that it submitted a filing on Wednesday and the appeal was a follow-up to Judge Sue L. Robinson’s order to Watson on Monday. However, the league also confirmed that its Players Association does not appeal Robinson’s decision and was given two days to respond to the NFL’s notice of appeal.
The NFL’s move this week came a month after Watson’s three-day hearing in Delaware. The QB caught himself in a tight spot following accusations of sexual misconduct in massage sessions made by 24 women against him. On multiple occasions, the QB denied these allegations and said that he had no regrets.
More on NFL’s appeal on Watson
On the release, the NFL has said that its commissioner Roger Goodell will be the one to determine who will hear the appeal as under the bargaining agreement, the commissioner has the authority to either preside or appoint a designee in regards to the appeal. The league was given until Thursday morning this week to make further decision of the appeal.
“Under the 2020 NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’), the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed. Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s personal-conduct policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games,” reads the NFL’s release.
“The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer. Such an appeal must be filed within three days and would be heard by the Commissioner or his designee.”
Robinson who is a former federal judge appeared during Watson’s hearing in Delaware a month ago and was the person who ordered the QB’s six-game suspension on Monday via a 16-page long report, holding him accountable over the violation of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
In Robinson’s report, there is also a part where the NFL was keen to suspend Watson for the entire 2022 season. Regardless, the judge wrote that in her decision, she was bound by “fairness and consistency” standards in treating players, as per the NFL release.
The judge who is now serving as the NFL’s disciplinary officer was certain in her decision since the league was “attempting to impose a more dramatic shift in its culture without the benefit of fair notice” to players. Meanwhile, the NFL saw Watson’s case as “unprecedented” following the number of people who sued against the QB. However, two grand juries in Texas resorted not to indicting Watson months back.
According to NFL Network’s Judy Battista on Wednesday by citing a source familiar with the matter, the league is adamant with its decision and had a follow-up to Robinson’s judgement by yet again, pushing to suspend the player for the entire season. In a slightly different tone, the NFL could also resort to a player fine, as per NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.
After the six-game suspension ruling, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center said its disappointment, arguing that the given penalty “dangerously mirrors the flaws”.
The case is in full swing and expect more to be released latest on Thursday as many await more on the league’s move to appeal the suspension.