Analysis: No winners in Deshaun Watson’s case

by | Aug 2, 2022 | Sports

Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension will stand only if the NFL allows it.The punishment given to the Cleveland Browns quarterback by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy fell far short of the one-year suspension the league wanted. No problem. Because of the collective bargaining agreement, the league can appeal Robinson’s decision and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person he designates could then increase the suspension and impose a substantial fine.The ball is in the NFL’s court. The league has three days to file an appeal and is mulling its options.Still, the NFL Players Association could then try to challenge Goodell’s ruling on an appeal in federal court.One league official told The Associated Press before the three-day disciplinary hearing was held in June that both sides should try to avoid an appeal. The union already announced Sunday night it would abide by Robinson’s ruling.However, public reaction could determine the NFL’s next step. It wouldn’t be the first time the league reacts to an outcry from its followers. “The NFL may be a ‘forward-facing’ organization, but it is not necessarily a forward-looking one,” Robinson wrote in the conclusion to her 16-page report on the suspension. “Just as the NFL responded to violent conduct after a public outcry, so it seems the NFL is responding to yet another public outcry about Mr. Watson’s conduct. At least in the former situation, the Policy was changed and applied proactively. Here …

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