The NFL has filed an appeal of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension.
Watson was suspended Monday by an independent arbitrator over dozens of sexual misconduct allegations dating back to his time with the Houston Texans.
The decision was labeled a ‘joke’ by critics on social media who felt the six-game suspension was insufficient given the allegations against Watson and the NFL is now expected to increase the punishment.
The league is appealing the indefinite suspension which will be a minimum of one year and the appeal may also include a monetary penalty. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. A league spokesman did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation.
The 26-year-old quarterback is accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of female massage therapists in the Houston area between 2019 and 2021, when he was a member of the Texans.
The NFL has now exercised its collective bargaining rights to file an appeal following the suspension by jointly appointed NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson.
This is a new disciplinary procedure for the 2022 season and has not been put in place before.
Under Section 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Commissioner Roger Goodell may hear the appeal himself or appoint a third-party arbitrator, and the decision of Goodell or his designee shall be final and binding on all parties.
The NFL has filed an appeal against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension.
Watson was suspended Monday by an independent arbitrator over dozens of sexual misconduct allegations during his time with the Houston Texans.
Robinson wrote in her report that the league recommended Watson be banned for the 2022 regular season and postseason.
However, Robinson sought to distinguish between violent and nonviolent sexual behavior.
Relying on precedent, she concluded that Watson’s conduct “does not fall within the category of violent conduct requiring a minimum six-game suspension” that the league established as “the most commonly applied discipline for domestic or sexual violence.” sexual acts.’
In her ruling (pictured), Robinson wrote that Watson must limit her massages to club-directed sessions with club-approved massage therapists for the duration of her career.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can hear the appeal himself or appoint a third-party arbitrator
The NFL and the players’ union were given three days to appeal the decision, and the league has now done so.
Although the players’ union could appeal the six-game suspension, it issued a statement Sunday night saying it would “stand by Robinson’s decision” and not appeal regardless of the outcome, calling on the league to agree.
The players union now has two days to respond to the appeal, and after the NFL’s decision to appeal it reportedly looks increasingly likely to be the final decision in federal court as the NFLPA prepares to sue the league, according to ESPN. .
Shortly after the NFL’s decision to appeal was announced, Watson was spotted talking to Browns PR as he left the practice field on Wednesday.
Monday’s suspension was revealed after Watson struck a deal with three more accusers, leaving him to face just one final trial after 25 women sued him, one of whom dropped his case. Specific dollar figures for the 23 settlements were not disclosed.
According to the Associated Press, the NFL was pushing for an indefinite suspension and a fine of less than $5 million.
By sitting out six weeks, Watson will lose about $345,000 in match checks. He signed a backloaded $230 million contract extension after signing with Cleveland in March.
As it turns out, that deal effectively saves him $15.8 million under the six-game suspension by reducing his payout in 2022. Watson would have lost more than $16.2 million in match checks had he been compensated equally over the five-year contract.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson signs autographs after Friday’s practice
The settlement was announced by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represented all 25 plaintiffs, including the woman who dropped the case against Watson.
“After long and intensive negotiations, I can confirm that, last night, our team resolved the four remaining civil cases with Deshaun Watson,” Buzby said in a statement provided to DailyMail.com. ‘We will continue to discuss the remainder of the case with Watson’s legal team as appropriate.’
Buzby did not identify the women who lived with Watson.
According to court files reviewed by DailyMail.com, Watson is specifically accused of forcing two women to perform oral sex, ejaculating on three women and forcibly kissing another, while 18 women said they touched their penises during massages.
Plaintiff’s attorney Tony Buzbee (left) and Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin (right)
Although he has now resolved 23 of the 24 cases, Watson has denied any wrongdoing, and two Texas grand juries have declined to pursue charges against him.
In her ruling, Robinson wrote that Watson must limit her massages to club-directed sessions with club-approved massage therapists for the duration of her career. He also recommended additional fines if he finds himself in any legal trouble.
Robinson described Watson’s behavior as ‘appalling’.
Fans have been highly critical of Robinson’s decision, which they feel is unfairly lenient to previous suspensions handed out to NFL players. For example, Tom Brady got four games for his role in the infamous Deflategate scandal — a cheating allegation that the league struggled to prove in 2015.
Many pointed out on social media that former Atlanta Falcons running back Calvin Ridley received a full-season suspension for betting on his team. The 2022 ban will cost him $11.1 million in base salary.
Many pointed out on social media that former Atlanta Falcons running back Calvin Ridley received a full-season suspension for betting on his team. The 2022 ban will cost him $11.1 million in base salary
Others, such as New York Times baseball editor Benjamin Hoffman, pointed to Josh Gordon’s repeated suspensions for alcohol and recreational drug use.
Earlier, in July, the Texans reached a confidential settlement with 30 women, including those accused of not suing Watson.
The NFL club was accused of enabling Watson by allegedly ignoring his behavior and securing memberships at a local hotel and club, where he allegedly sexually assaulted and assaulted female massage therapists.
One of his accusers, Toye Garner, filed a lawsuit against the Texans in June, which Buzby said at the time would be the first of many. However, before those lawsuits were filed, the team reached a settlement with 24 plaintiffs and six other unnamed women who have expressed their intent to file claims against the Texans organization.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we learned of the allegations against our then-franchise quarterback in March 2021,” read a statement from the McNair family, which owns the team.
Fans slam Deshaun Watson’s ‘joke’ six-game suspension over dozens of sexual misconduct allegations
‘While our organization has no knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have deliberately chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of wrongdoing, but a clear stand against sexual harassment and abuse of any kind.’
In a July statement, Buzbee said Garner’s case would be dismissed with prejudice “once the appropriate settlement paperwork is completed.”
“I will not comment further on the allegations or the alleged role of Texas, other than to say that there is a clear difference between the way the Texans handled these allegations and the way Watson’s team did so,” Buzby said. The statement said.
Some of Watson’s accusers have been pictured in a Texas courtroom, where the first of two grand juries declined to press charges related to sexual misconduct cases against the NFL star.
Several massage therapists reportedly met Watson at a local hotel and private club, the Houstonia, where the Texans reportedly secured membership for him.
The New York Times reported in June that Watson booked appointments with at least 66 different women in the 17 months he played for Texas. Earlier, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, estimated that he had seen about 40 female massage therapists during his five seasons with Texas.
Not every woman has accused Watson of sexual misconduct, and 15 have released statements of support for her at the request of her attorney.
After the publication of the Times piece, the Texans were added as defendants in the sexual assault lawsuit for allegedly facilitating the massage. The NFL club accused Watson of obtaining memberships at a local hotel and private club, the Houstonian, where some of the massages allegedly took place.
A woman who massaged Watson at the hotel, but was not identified in the article, told the Times that the room they used was ‘registered to a member of the Texans’ training staff.’