After weeks of waiting, multiple sources familiar with the situation Sunday indicated to the Beacon Journal a decision was expected from Sue L. Robinson on Monday in the NFL disciplinary case against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson was the first with the report the decision day. Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reported the decision is expected to be announced by 9 a.m.
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Robinson, the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, heard the case against Watson for potential NFL personal conduct policy violations June 28-30. The case stemmed from more than two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct by Watson by women he procured massages from while the quarterback of the Houston Texans.
A total of 24 women filed lawsuits in Texas against Watson between March 2021 and June. On June 21, 20 of the 24 women settled. On July 15, the Texans also settled with 30 women who made or intended to make claims against the organization for its role in the matter.
A decision, should there be a suspension of any length, can be appealed by either party. Those appeals would be heard either by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he appoints.
The NFLPA released a joint statement with Watson on Twitter Sunday evening regarding the impending decision. The statement indicates that Watson and the Players Association have no intent of appealing the ruling.
“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decisions, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding,” the statement said. “First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge – appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL – held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially. Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had no comment to either the potential decision or the NFLPA’s statement.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported the two sides did conduct settlement talks in recent days. However, as has been the case throughout the process, they remained far apart from a resolution, with Watson’s side accepting something between six and eight games, while the league sought 12 games plus a “heavy fine
Watson was acquired by the Browns in a trade from the Texans on March 18. He was signed to a new five-year, $230-million contract, all of which is guaranteed.
The NFL was seeking an indefinite suspension of at least a year, which it informed Watson and the NFLPA of within 10 days of the hearing in accordance to the collective bargaining agreement. The counterargument by Watson’s side was seeking no suspension, pointing to the lack of discipline taken against multiple team owners for various perceived personal conduct policy violations.
Both parties were asked to submit post-hearing briefs to Robinson, the former federal district judge in Delaware, by July 12. She has been working on the decision, her first in the new role created by the 2020 CBA.
Watson has been a full participant in the Browns’ workouts, both in the offseason and since reporting for training camp on July 22. He did miss a couple of days during the offseason workouts to speak with NFL investigators.
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