Aug 3, 2022 - Sports

NFL to appeal Deshaun Watson's 6-game suspension

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson. Photo: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Image

The NFL is appealing Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The appeal would allow Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he appoints to impose a stiffer penalty on Watson, AP writes.

The big picture: Disciplinary officer and former federal judge Sue L. Robinson found Watson violated three provisions of the personal conduct policy including sexual assault and conduct posing a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person.

  • The league recommended Watson be suspended for "at least the entire 2022 NFL regular and post-season," but Robinson declined based on precedents and the league’s current policy, per her ruling.
  • She added that a longer suspension could be justified if it was already outlined in the personal conduct policy.
  • "Although this is the most significant punishment ever imposed on an NFL player for allegations of non-violent sexual conduct, Mr. Watson’s pattern of conduct is more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL," Robinson wrote in her findings.

What's next: The National Football League Players Association has two business days to respond in writing.

  • The union could challenge the appeal ruling in federal court, setting the stage for a prolonged fight, AP writes.
  • McCarthy said there’s no timeline for Goodell or whomever he appoints to make a ruling.
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