The NFL is appealing the disciplinary officer’s decision to suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshawn Watson. 6 games for breach of league personal conduct policyauthorizes Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates to impose harsher penalties.
Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson was accused Monday by 20 women in Texas of sexual misconduct during a massage treatment while Watson was playing for the Houston Texans. made a ruling.
In the 16-page report, Robinson called Watson’s behavior “the most egregious of any behavior the NFL has ever reviewed.”
Robinson’s punishment was the first since he was jointly nominated by the league and the NFL Players Association, and was far from the at least one-year indefinite suspension the league had sought.
As such, the NFL on Wednesday exercised its right to appeal pursuant to its collective bargaining agreement.
Players unions must respond in writing by the close of business on Friday. The union may be gearing up for a lengthy battle, challenging the federal court’s appeal ruling.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said there is no timeline for Goodell or his representatives to make a decision.
Complaints will be processed expeditiously in accordance with the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Also, it is “limited to review of the disciplinary conditions imposed” and is “based on a review of existing records without reference to previously unreviewed evidence or testimony.”
The policy states that “any decision of the Commissioner or his designee, which may override, reduce, amend or expand any previously issued discipline, shall be final and inclusive of all parties. It is binding,” he said.
This is the first time since the new CBA was signed in 2020 that the league and the NFLPA have had a jointly appointed disciplinary officer determine violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. Has served as an imposing judge and jury.
By appealing, the NFL returns that authority to Goodell, who can choose another person to impose the punishment on.
League officials told the Associated Press that the NFL hopes to avoid an appeal before Watson’s three-day disciplinary hearing ends in June.
But the league went ahead with one amid backlash from some fans and intense public pressure in the media. Includes lack.
The NFL insisted on unprecedented penalties and wanted Watson to be fined at least $5 million, a person familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous because the hearing is private, told the AP. rice field.
Watson, who played four seasons with the Texans before missing last season and was traded to Cleveland in March, faced 24 charges in 2020 and 2021 by women alleging they were sexually harassed and assaulted during massage treatments. recently settled 23 of its lawsuits. Texas refused to press charges against Watson over criminal charges filed by 10 women.
Robinson concluded that Watson had violated three articles of the Personal Conduct Policy. Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of others. Conduct that impairs or jeopardizes the integrity of the NFL.
She refused to suspend Watson for a year based on precedent and the league’s current policy. concluded that it could be
Robinson said, “While it may be perfectly appropriate to more severely discipline players for nonviolent sexual conduct, it would be unwise to do so without notice of the extraordinary changes that this position portends for the NFL and its players.” I don’t think it’s appropriate to do so,” Robinson wrote to her.reports.
Watson will continue to practice with the Browns while awaiting resolution of his case, which raises questions about the league’s handling of player behavior off the field, inconsistent individual courses of conduct, and overall support for women. I have continued.
The Browns are also at a loss as to when or if Watson will play this season.
Cleveland traded three first-round picks to Houston with a three-time Pro Bowl QB and signed a five-year, $230 million contract.
Watson’s base salary this season is $1,035,000, so he only has $345,000 to lose if his suspension stays in place.
Watson did not comment to the AP when asked for his reaction to the league’s appeal decision. He was then escorted inside the Browns’ facility by members of the team’s security staff.
The three-time Pro Bowler had just completed the seventh practice session of Cleveland’s training camp and was still on the field when the league’s appeal announcement was posted.
Watson spoke with Peter Jean-Baptiste, the team’s vice president of communications, before signing autographs for members of the military and their families.
He was held by a woman who told Watson to “stay strong.”
Cleveland AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL