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NFL recommends indefinite suspension of no less than a year for Browns QB Deshaun Watson

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On the eve of a hearing before the Independent Disciplinary Reviewer, who will make the initial decision on what punishment awaits Deshawn Watson, the NFL recommended an indefinite suspension of the quarterback for at least a year.

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On Monday night, the league briefed Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge who serves as a disciplinary inspector, as well as Watson and the NFL Players Association of its recommendation, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The man spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side is authorized to comment on the matter.

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At the conclusion of the hearing, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday and possibly continue until Wednesday, Robinson, who is jointly reimbursed by the league and players’ union, will review the facts gathered in the league’s year-long investigation and also consider arguments presented by NFL and Players’ Association lawyers. NFL.

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She will then make her decision on what punishment Watson should receive, if any.

If Robinson follows the NFL’s advice, Watson and the NFLPA are expected to file an appeal. However, the chances of winning such an appeal seem rather slim, because, under the terms of the Collective Agreement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell either presided over this process and made the final decision, or appointed another person to do so.

In March, Deshawn Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns in a high-profile deal.
In March, Deshawn Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns in a high-profile deal.

MORE: Woman who sued Deshawn Watson is now also suing former QB team, Houston Texans

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The indefinite suspension recommendation for at least a year gives the NFL wiggle room to extend the penalty if more incriminating evidence is found, either in any of the current four civil lawsuits against Watson or elsewhere. The NFL will also recommend certain conditions that Watson will need to meet to make his reinstatement possible, the person said, confirming the Wall Street Journal’s report on the league’s plans.

The accusations against Watson first surfaced last year after the quarterback voiced his displeasure at the Houston Texans’ management and demanded a trade. Watson didn’t fit in a game last season, though he didn’t get along with the Texans, who remained determined to provide solid compensation to one of the game’s brightest stars.

The opposing teams were hesitant to comply with these demands, but were unsure that the Houston authorities would bring criminal charges against Watson. Last spring, two grand juries refused to bring any charges against the 26-year-old. However, 24 massage therapists Watson has secured social media interactions over the past few years have filed civil lawsuits against Watson.

Shortly after the grand jury’s decision Cleveland Browns acquired Watson in exchange for a first round, third and two fourth round picks. The Browns also signed with Watson. to a record five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract. The deal included a low base salary of just over $1 million for 2022 to help the quarterback avoid a big financial loss if he receives a lengthy suspension this year.

Last week, Watson, who claimed he had never assaulted women or forced them into non-consensual sexual acts, achieved confidential financial settlements with 20 out of 24 women.

But the move did nothing to change the NFL’s decision to recommend an indefinite suspension of at least a year.

NFL officials wanted to send a strong message that sexual misconduct was unacceptable and therefore demanded severe punishment. According to people familiar with the situation, NFL officials expressed dissatisfaction with the Browns’ creative pay structure. This, along with the large number of accusers and the wide scope of the allegations against Watson, had a lot to do with the league’s decision to push for a suspension of at least a year.

During preliminary settlement negotiations with the league, the NFL informed Watson’s camp that if he agreed to a one-year ban, they would not change the length of the sentence if further details became known. However, Watson opposed the proposal for a one-year ban. So now, with an indefinite suspension recommendation of at least a year, the NFL is essentially doubling down on its position.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deshawn Watson: NFL recommends suspension for at least a year



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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