Tuesday’s hearing on possible disciplinary action against Browns quarterback Deshawn Watson will begin. Theoretically, it could still be settled before the start of proceedings.
To do this, the NFL will have to dramatically change its current position.
Andrew Beaton of Wall Street Journalwho revealed last night that the league would push for an indefinite ban that would last at least one year, explains that the NFL will not accept a decided ban. less than one seasonminimum.
This may change as both sides begin to present evidence and arguments and, more importantly, when Judge Sue L. Robinson begins to make observations and/or make decisions that may reveal her views on the case. The most important question is likely to be whether it will allow Watson and the NFL Players Association to adhere to the idea that the discipline of any player should be proportionate to the discipline placed on owners who have potentially violated the Personal Conduct Policy, and to what extent.
If she orders the NFL to hand over to the NFLPA all evidence regarding the Commander’s investigation and the punishment of owner Daniel Snyder, it could put pressure on the league. If it orders the NFL to provide evidence as to whether to investigate or punish Patriots owner Robert Kraft in connection with his extortion arrest (the charges were dropped), it could put pressure on the league. If she orders the NFL to release information about its failure to investigate the Cowboys voyeurism scandal, it could put pressure on the league. To put it simply, the league could have made a deal with Watson to avoid revealing information about Snyder, Kraft and Jones that it would rather keep hidden.
If Judge Robinson cuts that defense off, the NFL has the advantage. At this point, he can rest on his heels. Especially since the NFL has a trump card. If Judge Robinson imposes any disciplinary action, the league may appeal the case. Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee shall have full and final jurisdiction over the appeal.
So whatever Judge Robinson does, the end result could still be exactly what the NFL is currently offering. The only way for Watson to avoid such an outcome is to force Judge Robinson to impose no disciplinary action at all.