The Cleveland Browns, quarterback Deshaun Watson and Browns fans have been waiting since mid-March to learn Watson’s fate as the NFL has investigated the 24 civil lawsuits filed against Watson.
That process will reportedly move into the next and most important phase on Tuesday as Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFLPA, will begin hearing the case, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Deshaun Watson's hearing before the NFL and NFLPA's jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson is scheduled to begin Tuesday, league sources told ESPN. pic.twitter.com/nUzSQsUI45— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 25, 2022
Watson is facing the 24 civil lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions while he played for the Houston Texans. Watson recently agreed to settle 20 of the lawsuits.
The NFL is expected to ask for a “significant” suspension of Watson, one that will likely be for a full season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. According to Schefter, the league will be seeking a lengthy suspension based on the testimony of only a few of the women accusing Watson as league officials were unable to speak with all of them.
In Watson’s defense, the NFLPA is reportedly planning 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.
Once she hears both sides, 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 side can appeal the decision to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who can either make a ruling rule on the appeal or bring in an independent party to make the final decision.
Robinson has never issued a ruling on a case involving an NFL player. While there is no set timetable for her to make a decision, the expectation is that it will come sometime before the Browns open training camp at the end of July, according to Schefter.