NFL Appealing Deshaun Watson Decision

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Deshaun Watson isn’t clear of a year-long suspension just yet as the NFL on Wednesday afternoon appealed his six-game suspension, per NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

“On Monday, Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent Disciplinary Officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, issued her ruling in the Personal Conduct Policy matter regarding Deshaun Watson,” McCarthy said in a statement.

“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.

“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.

“The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.”

It should be noted Goodell is allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement to hear the appeal himself. It’s not clear if that’s the direction he’ll go as he’s been uncomfortable being the final arbiter of player punishment in the recent past.

In presenting its case to Robinson, the NFL requested Watson be suspended “at least the entire 2022 NFL regular season and postseason and not be permitted to return unless he satisfies any conditions imposed for reinstatement.”

An indefinite suspension on appeal would be reviewed after one year and that, a source told OutKick, is the floor for what the NFL is looking to achieve on appeal. If that does not manifest, the league would want to add to Robinson’s discipline by adding a substantial fine because Watson’s current six-game suspension effectively forces him to forfeit only $345,000.

Watson signed a $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns in March.

The Browns declined comment about the NFL’s decision to appeal.

Any response to the appeal by the NFLPA must be filed in writing within two business days. According to Article 46 of the CBA, “the Commissioner or his designee will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding upon the player(s), Club(s) and the parties to this Agreement.”

According to the Personal Conduct Policy, the appeal will be: (i) processed on an expedited basis; (ii) limited to consideration of the terms of discipline imposed; and (iii) based upon a review of the existing record without reference to evidence or testimony not previously considered.

No additional evidence or testimony shall be presented to or accepted by the commissioner or his designee. Any factual findings and evidentiary determinations of the Disciplinary Officer will be binding to the parties on appeal, and the decision of the commissioner or his designee, which may overturn, reduce, modify or increase the discipline previously issued, will be final and binding on all parties.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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  1. The other owners want to punish Cleveland for a fully guaranteed contract for Deshaun Watson. If he sues the legal will probably play this season and the more than like be suspended the following year and lose lot more money. This season is on 1 million and next year is 40 plus.

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