The NFL has yet to make a ruling on a potential suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, but when they do it may not be good news.
That is according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, who on Friday reported that the league is considering a “significant” suspension of Watson that will “probably” be for one full season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
New: The NFL plans to argue to new disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson for a “significant” suspension of Deshaun Watson for violating the personal conduct policy, multiple sources say.... https://t.co/bBF6Jdt8nB— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) June 17, 2022
Watson is currently dealing with 24 civil lawsuits by women accusing him of sexual misconduct. Watson and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, have continually denied the charges and two grand juries in Texas declined to file criminal charges against Watson.
The league may still be looking to drop the hammer on Watson sometime before the Browns open training camp on July 27, according to Maske:
The league “probably” will seek a suspension of one full season for Watson, a person on Watson’s side of the case said Friday. A person familiar with the league’s view of the case cautioned to be “careful” about specifying a precise length at this point for the suspension the NFL will seek. But that person also said: “Significant would be the proper term.”
The league hopes the entire disciplinary process, including the resolution of any potential appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person designated by him, is completed by the start of training camp, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The Browns are scheduled to open training camp on July 27.
The NFL will present the findings of its investigation to Sue L. Robinson, a former U.S. district judge who is the disciplinary officer jointly selected by the league and the NFL Players Association to handle these types of matters.
Robinson can decide that Watson did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy, which would end the NFL’s involvement in the situation. If she decides that some form of disciplinary action should take place, either the NFLPA or attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women accusing Watson in the civil lawsuits, can appeal the decision to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFLPA is reportedly ready to go to bat for Watson over any suspension, with a strategy focused on why owners Daniel Snyder of the Washington Commanders, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys were not suspended by the league for a variety of off-field incidents involving them and their teams.
Watson has continually denied the allegations against him and the Browns - most notably head coach Kevin Stefanski - have repeatedly said they will let the process play out when questioned about Watson’s ongoing situation.