The NFL disciplinary hearing for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will continue into its third day on Thursday.
Watson faced 25 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 reached confidential settlements in 20 of the lawsuits.
He is now before the NFL and NFL Players Association’s jointly-appointed disciplinary officer, Sue L. Robinson, who will determine what punishment he will receive. ESPN reported on Wednesday that there is no set timeline for Robinson’s decision once the hearing ends. If either the union or league appeals the decision, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,’’ per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.
The Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday in Delaware before NFL/NFLPA disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. It's still not clear when she will issue her ruling.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) June 29, 2022
While the league is reportedly looking to hand down a “significant” suspension — reportedly a full season at a minimum — the NFLPA is arguing that Watson’s punishment should not be so harsh given that the NFL office has taken a soft approach on the owners whenever they have gotten into trouble.
On Tuesday, Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press tweeted that the NFL would not fight a six- to eight-game suspension of Watson because league officials want to avoid what would likely be an unpleasant appeals process.
More: I'm also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process - source said "a terrible situation for everyone involved" - so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson's ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games.— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 28, 2022
However, on Wednesday cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported that the NFL very much still wants to drop the hammer on Watson.
It's not true that the #NFL would likely accept a 6-8 game suspension for Deshaun Watson if that's what Sue L. Robinson, league source tells https://t.co/o11vJSOExu https://t.co/cdQa5EMHWt— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) June 29, 2022
All the speculation from sources has also allegedly been irritating Robinson, according to Albert Breer, senior NFL writer at The Monday Morning Quarterback, who told Cleveland radio station 92.3 The Fan that he believes “there is some concern with the league this thing could go the other way (in favor of Deshaun Watson).”
.@AlbertBreer on @afternoon923FAN: "One thing I heard definitively over the weekend, Sue L. Robinson wasn't happy how public some things have become. (I think) there is some concern with the league this thing could go the other way (in favor of Deshaun Watson)."— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) June 29, 2022
There is also no telling when it will be concluded, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
After the 2nd day of Deshaun Watson's hearing a league source reminds that Sue Robinson won't deliver a ruling on the spot--That hearings will finish then there'll likely be post-hearing submissions & then a decision. Source not currently expecting hearing to last past this week.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 29, 2022
It does seem realistic though that there will be a final determination on Watson’s status by the time the Browns open training camp on July 27.