After almost a year and a half of the saga between the NFL and Deshaun Watson’s suspension, rumors are finally over. Deshaun Watson has finally gotten the closure he and the NFL wants. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed on a settlement and suspension. The NFL had appealed his initial six-game suspension handed down by Judge Sue L. Robinson. After the appeal, the NFL was seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one full season. So how did we get to this finale?
Judge Sue L. Robinson was jointly appointed as the arbiter in discipline cases like these. Robinson was a former federal judge for over 25 years. She wrote a 15-page ruling on her findings. In summary of her findings she says the NFL met the burden of proof in this case, Watson’s behavior was predatory and egregious, and finally that he violated the personal conduct policy. Therefore, she decided to go with precedent and suspend him for six games compared to the full season the NFL wanted. Robinson said she could not spend him for more games because the CBA wouldn’t allow it.
It was stated since the NFL ended its investigation against Deshaun Watson that they wanted him suspended for 1 full season. So the day after the ruling came out the NFL decided to appeal the six-game suspension. Roger Goddell choose to appoint former Attorney General of New Jersey Peter C. Harvey over the appeal process. Peter C. Whatever the NFL wanted Harvey to rule he more than likely would rule in their favor. Roger Goddell did an impromptu interview in which he said the evidence call’s for a year’s suspension.
In reality, the NFLPA made an about-face during the appeal process. The night before Judge Robinson made her ruling the NFLPA made a statement saying they would not appeal the ruling she made and whatever it was would fully accept it. Following the statement, the ruling came down and the NFL appealed. One of the main focuses of the findings was that Watson showed no remorse for his actions. However, Watson decided to apologize a few hours before the Cleveland Brown’s first pre-season against the Jaguars.
Final Disciplinary Ruling
It was August 18th that the NFL and NFLPA finally came to a settlement agreement. That settlement was an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine. Before this was agreed upon Deshaun Watson made a statement saying he would accept an 8-game suspension and a $5 million fine. Coupled with his willingness to pay more to play the NFL and NFLPA were able to reach the number of games. As well as the games and fines, Watson also must undergo treatment with a medical professional. He must meet all guidelines in order to be eligible to play after the 11 games suspension.
Finally, there is a conclusion to this entire situation. All parties involved can now go their separate ways and begin the process of healing and restoring. A few concerns during this process are the words the NFL has chosen to attach to Deshaun Watson. Words such as predatory and egregious. I take issue with that because of the mock trial the NFL choose to hold. Therefore, it is secondary to anything governed in the United States. Two grand juries choose not to indict him and that seems to fall by the wayside of the league. In the ruling, it says that Deshaun Watson did sexually assault those women. But it was assault defined by the NFL not criminal courts. In addition during the hearing process, the NFL did not find evidence of violence, coercion, or manipulation.