Judge Sue L. Robinson didn’t get the memo regarding the value for a Friday bad news dump.
PFT has confirmed that the former federal judge has informed the NFL and the NFL Players Association that a decision in the Deshaun Watson appeal hearing is coming on Monday. The news was first reported by Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, efforts to resolve the situation via negotiations went nowhere. Although Judge Robinson did not actively encourage settlement efforts, some believe that she waited to issue a ruling in order to encourage the two sides to achieve their own solution. In theory, the fact that she has told the parties that a decision is coming on Monday (and the fact that she told them it wasn’t coming on Friday) operated as a de facto last call to work out a deal that leaves both parties a little upset, in lieu of a formal ruling that could leave one of the parties very upset.
As one source put it, however, the chances of a settlement currently are slim.
PFT previously reported that the Browns are bracing for an eight-game suspension. One source with knowledge of the submissions made by the parties estimated that the final suspension could land in the range of two to eight games.
If Judge Robinson imposes any discipline at all, the league and the union will have the right to appeal to the Commissioner. The case ends only if she finds that Watson should have no punishment whatsoever.
Although Watson was sued by 24 different massage therapists for alleged sexual misconduct during massage sessions, the league presented evidence as to only five of the alleged victims. One of the cases was based sole on a media report; it’s our understanding that the judge disregarded that specific claim.
Presumably, Judge Robinson’s decision will be made available for publicly. Since it involves a player and not an owner, the league will have less of a reason to sweep it all under the rug.