Tuesday, June 28, marked the first day of disciplinary hearings for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. According to anonymous sources at the meeting, the National Football League would like to see Watson barred from play for at least the 2022-2023 season. In fact, the league is supposedly arguing for him to be indefinitely suspended.
Meanwhile, the NFL Players’ Association doesn’t believe Watson should miss any games. And Watson’s legal team allegedly believes there are no grounds for such a penalty against their client. Nevertheless, former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson will eventually decide if the 26-year-old signal-caller did violate the NFL’s conduct policy and what his punishment should be, if so.
Watson’s future hangs in the balance, as he’s faced multiple allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct made by 24 different women, resulting in 24 civil suits against him. The 26-year-old signal-caller has consistently denied any wrongdoing and maintained that his encounters were consensual. However, Watson has opted to settle out of court with 20 of the women so far.
His former team, the Houston Texans, eventually traded the QB to Cleveland, where he inked a five-year, $230 million deal. But despite his new lucrative contract and receiving his first full year of pay, Watson played no games last season.
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press leaked the following rumor last night, though: “I’m also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process – source said ‘a terrible situation for everyone involved’ – so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson’s ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games.”
But Browns Wire‘s Henry McKenna said that current reports are NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will “throw the book at Watson” if given the chance. Hearings will resume Wednesday, and Robinson is expected to give her determination on Thursday.