Deshaun Watson suspension: Season-long ban against former Texans QB based on evidence, says Roger Goodell

BEREA, Ohio– NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes the league must continue to push for a year-long suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for his “outrageous” and “predatory behavior” toward women.

Speaking at Tuesday’s owners’ meetings in Bloomington, Minnesota, Goodell addressed the league’s decision to appeal a six-game suspension that Watson received from Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge serving on the NFL and NFL Players Association was appointed as independent league disciplinarian, was imposed officer.

Robinson found that Watson violated the league’s conduct policy after he was accused by two dozen women of sexual assault or harassment while playing for Houston. Watson has settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits filed by the women, although he has denied any wrongdoing.

SEE MORE: Deshaun Watson has been suspended 6 games for violating NFL guidelines on personal conduct

The league has sought an indefinite suspension and a fine for Watson, feeling Robinson’s six-game ban was not enough. Goodell cited the collective bargaining agreement to empower the league to seek further discipline.

The video above is from a report dated August 1, 2022.

“Each party could certainly argue and contest this, and we felt it was our right to do so, as did the NFLPA,” Goodell said. “So we decided it was the right thing to do.”

Watson’s fate now rests with Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey Attorney General who was handpicked by Goodell to handle the appeal. Harvey has previously worked as a referee in league cases.

Goodell said the league is pushing for a full-year sentence for Watson over evidence against the 26-year-old, who was accused of sexually inappropriate dealings with the women during massage therapy sessions at the Texans in 2020 and 2021.

In her 16-page judgment, Robinson concluded that Watson’s conduct violated the league’s personal conduct guidelines, using both “outrageous” and “predatory” to describe his actions.

Goodell was asked why the league was seeking a harsher sentence.

“Because we’ve seen the evidence,” he said. “She (Robinson) was very clear on the evidence. She reiterated the evidence that there were multiple violations here and they were egregious and that it was predatory behavior. Those were always things that we felt was really important for us to address and involve in a responsible way.”

Read Sue L. Robinson’s full decision here:

Goodell has no idea when Harvey will make a decision. There’s no specific deadline for Harvey, but the appeals policy requires it to be “expedited.”

There also remains a possibility that the sides could reach an agreement.

While attending the Minnesota meetings, Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam had little to say about the ongoing appeal.

“We will respect and honor the process,” he told reporters

Meanwhile, Watson’s game status for the Browns’ exhibition opening is unknown.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has not revealed whether Watson will play in Jacksonville on Friday. Stefanski said the team has a plan but he won’t release it until he tells his players.

“We have a framework for how we want to handle this pre-season,” he said. “As you know you always reserve the right to change your mind depending on how the drill goes and things like that, but we’re pretty confident in the plan that we have.”

Stefanski said Watson will be traveling to Florida. The three-time Pro Bowler has not played since 2020. He sat out last season after requesting a swap and before the allegations came to light.

Cleveland’s plan was to start Jacoby Brissett while Watson is serving his suspension. But now that it’s possible to span most if not all of the season, there’s a chance the team is looking for another quarterback.

Josh Rosen and Josh Dobbs are also on Cleveland’s roster and are expected to receive the majority of playing time during exhibition season.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Deshaun Watson suspension: Season-long ban against former Texans QB based on evidence, says Roger Goodell

Dais Johnston

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