A former U.S. district judge has ruled that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should be suspended six games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy, ESPN and NFL Network reported Monday.
Judge Sue L. Robinson informed the NFL and NFLPA of her decision, a 15-page conclusion. However, the decision is not yet final.
While the NFLPA vowed Sunday night not to appeal Robinson’s decision, the league has three days to appeal the ruling. If the league appeals, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell – or a designee – would issue a “full, final and complete disposition of the dispute.”
According to CBS Sports, the NFL was pushing for an indefinite suspension that would last through the 2022 season. The NFLPA and Watson had vowed to sue if Watson was suspended for the season.
Robinson found that there wasn’t enough evidence to support a season-long or indefinite banishment, per ESPN.
Robinson’s punishment ruling doesn’t include a fine, per the reports. It also dictates that Watson not have massages other than those prescribed by the Browns.
Watson stood accused of sexual assault and inappropriate misconduct during massage sessions that took place March 2020 and March 2021.
Watson settled 23 of the 24 sustained lawsuits he faced, including three announced on Monday by plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee.
Though two grand juries in Texas decided not to pursue criminal charges against Watson, the NFL has been conducting an independent investigation to determine whether he violated its personal conduct policy.
Robinson’s ruling was made following three days of testimony in Delaware in June.
The Browns traded three first-round picks for Watson in March and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract. They have said Jacoby Brissett would the starting quarterback for the duration of Watson’s suspension.
–Field Level Media