The NFL has made their stance on the Deshaun Watson case. It will now be up to Disciplinary Officer Sue L. Robinson to determine whether the Cleveland Browns quarterback should be punished in the first place.
A hearing on Watson’s case with the NFL is currently taking place, and according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the league has informed the NFLPA, Deshaun Watson’s camp, and Robinson that they are recommending an indefinite suspension of at least one year, without pay.
According to the report, Watson would be eligible to apply for reinstatement ahead of the 2023 season, assuming he meets certain conditions (like continuing counseling, etc.).
The report also states that after Robinson makes her ruling on whether Watson should be punished and for how long, either the NFL or the NFLPA can appeal the decision on the length of the ban with Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose word would be final.
If Robinson, who will begin hearing the case on Tuesday and hand down the initial ruling, abides by the NFL’s recommendation, Watson would potentially miss at least the entire 2022 season and hope to get back on the field in 2023. Certain conditions would have to be met, including likely continuing the counseling sessions he acknowledged on June 14 he’s been undergoing.
But once the initial discipline is handed down, either side — the NFL or NFLPA — can appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose word would be final. As long as Robinson determines that Watson has violated the policy and imposes a suspension, fine or both, Goodell or a designee can amend it as they see fit.
Based on the latest news from the situation, it sure seems as though Watson will not be lining up under center for the Browns in 2022. That leaves the team with a decision between Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs, or a disgruntled Baker Mayfield—although they’d have a lot of work to do in order to convince the latter to come back for another year.