Several reports coming out of the NFL and NFL beat writers are reporting that current Cleveland Browns quarterback (and Former Houston Texans QB) Deshaun Watson will be suspended for six games by the NFL for breaking the league’s personal conduct policy.
Additionally, he will not be fined at all. However, the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, can still have the last say.
Ian Rappaport, the NFL Network reporter to first break the news tweeted this:
The NFL and NFLPA mutually selected Susan L. Robinson, a former U.S. District Court Judge in Delaware for over 25 years, to oversee the disciplinary hearing, which began on June 28, to provide a ruling on whether Watson breached personal conduct protocols.
NFL insider Albert Breer reported that neither side of this case (Waston’s people and the NFLPA or the NFL) were made aware of the decision by Robinson, the independent arbitrator before the decision was announced.
The NFL has three days to appeal the ruling if they think the six-game suspension is light. The NFL more than likely believes the ruling is not harsh enough since they were pushing for an indefinite suspension of Watson of at least an entire season suspension (at least 17 games plus potential playoff games).
If the NFL does appeal, the NFLPA has two days to file a counter appeal. NFL insiders are reporting that if the NFL and its commissioner Goodell come back with a harsher ruling, the NFLPA will take the league to court.
When Lovie Smith, head coach of Watson’s former team, was asked to share his thoughts on Watson’s six-game suspension, he acted as if he had no idea what was going on with Watson. And if true, Smith was the only one in the entire NFL universe not waiting with baited breath to hear the arbitrator’s ruling.
“What happened again,” responded Smith. “Another player for somebody else’s team? I ain’t paid a whole… As you can see, 91 guys here [are] kind of occupying all of our time.”
Smith continued in the same manner, exhibiting a laser focus on a squad he took over after Watson’s last Texans head coach, David Culley, was fired in January after posting a 4-13 record during a season when Watson never took the field.
“I know the rest of the league is kind of moving on, and whatever is happening, they’re good for,” said Smith.
Along with missing the first six games of the 2022-23 NFL season, reports from the NFL Network show “Good Morning Football” stated that Watson, per the ruling, can only get massages from club-approved (Cleveland Browns) massage therapists.
Past NFL player suspension rulings came from the NFL and the commissioner. This new process of relying upon an independent arbitrator is a new reality that makes it difficult to compare this current Watson ruling with past suspensions handed out to players in the past who were accused and/or convicted of various wrongdoings.
“Good Morning Football” host Kyle Brandt said what many people are already thinking: “I’m sure there are several people out there who are mad at this ruling, thinking it’s too light. I’m sure there are people out there mad that the ruling is too harsh.”
Brandt said he falls on the side that believes the ruling is too light because according to the number of allegations against Watson, he believes what happened between Watson and his accusers was “at best inappropriate, and at worst irreprehensible.”
In Robinson’s ruling, the former U.S. District Court Judge said the evidence showed Watson’s behavior with his accusers was “egregious but non-violent behavior.” Hence, Robinson came back with a suspension ruling many are emphatically calling “light.”
Though the New York Times is reporting that Watson met with 66 different massage therapists, and was accused by over 20, only five accusation cases were presented before Robinson.
Veteran journeyman QB Jacoby Brissett is set to be the Browns’ starter until Watson’s suspension.
The Twitterverse has been full of reactions of all kinds to the news, though predominantly on the side of viewing the six-game suspension as too lenient.