The National Football League on Wednesday appealed to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshan Watson six-sport suspensionNFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. Watson was suspended on Monday by retired federal judge Sue L. Robinson, who determined that Watson had violated the league’s personal conduct policy after 24 women accused her of sexual misconduct during massage treatments.
McCarthy said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will appoint a nominee to hear the appeals.
In his 16-page report, Robinson described Watson’s behavior as “more forceful than any previously reviewed by the NFL”.
Robinson’s sentence—in his first case since being jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association—was significantly reduced by an indefinite suspension of at least one year sought by the league.
Therefore, the NFL on Wednesday exercised its right to appeal pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which allows both the league and the player union to challenge the conviction. The NFLPA announced the day before the decision that it would “stand by” Robinson’s decision, and called on the NFL to do the same.
The players’ union has until the end of business on Friday to respond in writing. The union can challenge the decision of appeal in federal court, setting the stage for a protracted battle.
It is the first time since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed in 2020 that the league and the NFLPA have turned to a jointly appointed disciplinary officer to determine violations of a personal conduct policy. In the past, Goodell has served as judge and jury to impose penalties on players.
A league official told the Associated Press before Watson’s three-day disciplinary hearing ended in June that the NFL wanted to avoid an appeal.
But the league went ahead amid backlash from some fans. Other factors include Watson’s lack of remorse, which Robinson noted in his report.
The NFL argued for an unprecedented sentence and wanted to fine Watson at least $5 million, a person familiar with the discussion told the AP on condition of anonymity because the hearing was private.
Watson, who played four seasons with the Texans before sitting out last season and then traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by women who received massage treatments in 2020 and 2021. accused of sexual assault or assault during Two grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints brought by 10 women in Texas.
Robinson concluded that Watson violated three provisions of the Personal Conduct Policy: sexual assault; conduct likely to endanger the safety and well-being of another person; and conduct that undermines or jeopardizes the integrity of the NFL.
It refused to suspend Watson for a full year based on precedent and current league policy. But Robinson concluded that the longer suspension could be justified if it had already been outlined in the personal conduct policy.
Robinson wrote, “While it may be entirely appropriate to more severely discipline players for nonviolent sexual conduct, I do not believe that this situation is extraordinary for the NFL and its players without notice of change.” It is appropriate to do so.” report him.
Watson continues to practice with Brown while awaiting the resolution of her case, which has raised questions about the league’s handling of off-field player behavior, discrepancies in its personal conduct policy, and overall support for women.
The Browns are also in limbo, not knowing when Watson will be able to play this season.
Cleveland traded three first-round picks to Houston for a three-time Pro Bowl QB and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract.
If there is no change in the suspension, Watson will only lose $345,000 as his base salary this season is $1.035 million.