The NFL could very will still suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for a full season, if they believe it can hold up.
An independent disciplinary officer, Judge Sue Robinson, determined that while Watson did violate the league’s personal conduct policy enough to warrant a six-game suspension, there was a lack of evidence to justify an indefinite leave.
This is all despite 25 sexual misconduct allegations against Watson. The league has suspended players more games for (arguably) less, with DeAndre Hopkins (PEDs, six games) and Calvin Ridley (gambling, full season) the latest examples. One would hope sexual misconduct towards women has severe consequences, but this ruling does not back that thought up.
Watson’s camp and the NFLPA will accept this six-game suspension as is, should the league office back down. However, Roger Goodell has three days to accept the ruling, and still hols complete authority as to what happens next.
Why is Deshaun Watson suspended?
Watson was suspended six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, in which 25 women accused him of sexual misconduct. The Cleveland Browns quarterback has settled all but one of the lawsuits against him.
While the NFL initially stated that it would not accept less than a full-season suspension for Watson, they are now backed into a corner. Hiring an independent arbitrator was meant to take all question out of the equation, but instead it has made Goodell’s job far tougher, as only he separates Watson from the playing field once more.
Failing to make more of a statement could abandon a significant portion of the league’s fanbase — namely women. In many ways the NFL has struggled to recover from previous incidents (namely: Ray Rice and Ben Roethlisberger).