Impartial disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson dominated on Monday that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson must be suspended for six video games within the 2022 season, per a number of studies. The suspension stems from allegations that Watson dedicated a number of acts of sexual misconduct throughout therapeutic massage remedy periods.
Twenty-four ladies filed civil fits in opposition to Watson searching for damages from their experiences with him. So far, Watson has settled 20 of these fits, leaving 4 pending. Thirty ladies additionally accused the Texans of enabling Watson’s alleged sexual misconduct. The Texans have settled with all 30 ladies. Two Texas grand juries declined to deliver fees in opposition to Watson, which isn’t uncommon in sexual assault circumstances. Texas grand juries are closed, and there’s no solution to know what proof prosecutors selected to current. Watson has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Watson’s disciplinary listening to with the league started on Tuesday, June 28, and was presided over by retired federal Choose Sue Lewis Robinson. Robinson was appointed because the league’s disciplinary officer collectively by the NFL and NFLPA, in accordance with the present collective bargaining settlement.
Per the present CBA, Watson and the NFLPA have three days to attraction the choice in writing to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Previous to the ruling, the NFLPA and Watson introduced they’d abide by the arbiter’s ruling.
Based on Rob Maaddi on the Related Press, league sources steered the NFL was pushing for a minimal one-year suspension for Watson, whereas Watson’s legal professional, Rusty Hardin, and his authorized staff had been — unsurprisingly — pushing for no suspension.
Maaddi additionally reported that the league could be prepared to think about a shorter suspension of six to eight video games merely to keep away from the appeals course of.
Extra: I am additionally advised the NFL, regardless of insisting on indefinite suspension, needs to keep away from the appeals course of – supply stated “a horrible state of affairs for everybody concerned” – so league is extra prone to abide by Sue Robinson’s ruling IF she got here again with 6-8 video games.
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 28, 2022
The NFL has been inconsistent in making use of self-discipline to gamers accused of home violence or sexual assault, beginning with the two-game suspension of former Ravens receiver Ray Rice, who was caught on video punching his then-fiancée, knocking her unconscious. The league acquired backlash for suspending Rice for simply two video games, and its response was to droop Rice indefinitely. After that, the NFL instituted a six-game suspension because the baseline for gamers who dedicated sexual assault or home violence.
However the league hardly ever adheres to that baseline. In 2016, Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for one recreation following an arrest for home violence towards his then-wife. It was later revealed that the Giants had been conscious of Brown’s intensive historical past of home violence.
And the checklist goes on. Jameis Winston was suspended for 3 video games for allegedly sexually assaulting an Uber driver. Greg Hardy allegedly tried to strangle a girl and threw her on a futon coated with weapons, and the NFL lowered his preliminary 10-game suspension down to only 4 video games. It occurred earlier than the NFL instituted the six-game baseline, however Ben Roethlisberger served only a three-game suspension in 2010 after being credibly accused of sexual assault.
Watson signed a five-year, $230 million absolutely assured contract with the Cleveland Browns after the Texans had been courted by the Browns, Panthers, Saints, and Falcons all searching for to commerce for Watson. Based on Tony Buzbee, the legal professional representing Watson’s accusers, zero groups tried to talk with any of the ladies to be taught extra about their experiences with Watson. The NFL did converse with some accusers in the middle of its investigation into Watson’s conduct, however Buzbee advised SB Nation he obtained the impression that the NFL was simply going by the motions.
“I believe eight or 10 of my purchasers, early on, had been interviewed by the NFL,” Buzbee stated. “And I believe we we concluded fairly shortly that the NFL wasn’t critical concerning the state of affairs. So I sort of shut that course of down.”
Additional complicating the problem is Falcons vast receiver Calvin Ridley, who’s dealing with a season-long suspension for betting on NFL video games final season. Ridley positioned the bets in the course of the time interval he was away from the staff to give attention to his psychological well being. The NFL has embraced the sports activities betting business of late and it was reportedly set to usher in about $270 million from these partnerships final 12 months, but it surely nonetheless apparently thinks betting on video games a participant had no alternative to affect is extra critical than two dozen credible accusations of serial sexual misconduct.
The Browns structured Watson’s contract in order that his base wage is simply over $1 million in 2022, shielding Watson financially from the suspension everybody knew was coming.