Yesterday morning, the sports universe was a-buzz with word that the suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson would be six games without pay…and there would be no fine…for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson passed down the suspension in a 15-page report centered on allegations of sexual misconduct against Watson. With this announcement, there’s a ton to unpack:
- Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association have until Thursday at 9am to file an appeal.
- The NLFPA says they’ll “stand by” the ruling, and “urged the NFL” to do the same, even though sources close to Watson’s camp say that six games is “too much.”
- Robinson said that Watson’s conduct “didn’t fall into the category of violent conduct,” but did find that the NFL “carried its burden of proof” that Watson “engage in sexual assault,” as defined by the NFL.
- Watson’s massages from now on must be carried out by club-approved therapists in club-directed sessions.
- The loss of six games will cost Watson a grand total of $345K.
- There’ve been reports that the NFL had been working on “settlement talks” that would’ve seen a “12-game suspension and $8 million fine,” and there’s no word on if Roger Goodell will decide to appeal the ruling and go for something closer to that.
- The ruling also brings confusion over other suspensions that seem much more harsh for far less, for example, Calvin Ridley losing an entire season for gambling $1,500…and Tom Brady losing four games for deflating footballs.
Fans upset with the length of the suspension were letting their feelings known, as well:
- “Dan Snyder is laughing his butt off.”
- “It’s a terrible look for the league.”
- “This work’s in Goodell’s favor. He can bump it to eight or ten games and talk about how seriously the league takes issues like this.”
Watson’s first game back will be October 23rd in Baltimore.
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