Negotiated suspension of Deshaun Watson seems very unlikely at this point

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The NFL, the NFL Players Association, and Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson reportedly were discussing the terms of a negotiated suspension under the Personal Conduct Policy. Those talks reportedly “fell apart.” It’s not believed that they’ll be put back together.

Per a league source, the current expectation is that the NFL will propose a suspension on Watson, and that the case will proceed to arbitration, with the Disciplinary Officer presiding. Commissioner Roger Goodell would then have final say over any appeal, filed by either side.

Multiple factors have made a negotiated resolution difficult to achieve. First, the league can’t afford to create the impression that it was too lenient with Watson. If the NFL, the NFLPA, and Watson reach an agreement on a suspension that would be regarded as acceptable to everyone, the end result could be viewed as insufficient by media and fans. To satisfy those who would criticize the league for being too soft, the league needs to propose a lengthy suspension. A settlement possibly could reached after that. If that happens, the league will have still made a clear, strong statement of significant punishment on Watson.

Second, the union possibly will argue, under Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, that there can be only one punishment of Watson for the same conduct — even if he continues to be accused of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions by previously unknown plaintiffs. This potentially will compel the league to impose an even longer suspension to account for the possibility of additional claims.

Although Article 46 could be interpreted to allow Watson to be disciplined for the cases that already have been filed and to punish him again for new cases that may emerge, the league may not want to assume the risk of a future suspension being scrapped due to a technicality. But waiting for all statutes of limitations to expire isn’t an acceptable alternative, especially if Watson resolves the other four pending lawsuits.

That said, a settlement as to the suspension could leave the door open for future punishment, if new claims emerge. This leads the league back to the original problem. Any settlement reached before the league proposes a suspension could create the impression that the league didn’t do enough — and it was the impression that the league didn’t due enough to Ray Rice that almost brought down the whole operation in 2014.

So perhaps the best chance for a settlement will come after the league proposes a lengthy suspension, with an agreement that the door will remain open if other lawsuits are filed in the future.

34 responses to “Negotiated suspension of Deshaun Watson seems very unlikely at this point

  1. A comparison to Ray Rice is off base. Ultimately Rice paid with his career as the Ravens cut him and no other team gave him as much as a tryout. Watson is a predator who received a guaranteed $230m contract which is a travesty. Anything less than a one season suspension is unacceptable.

  2. I mean good lord, this is when unions show how they’ve been bastardized over time. The league should just notify the union of its intention to suspend based on accusations that have already been submitted and its independent review of those claims. Based on the nature of the claims, the League should move forward with enforcing its penalty. There should be no negotiation process. A simple notification to the NFLPA should cover things. Enough already. Misconduct standards should be pretty cut and dry.

  3. For what? A bunch of civil lawsuits? When and if he is convicted of a crime then we’ll talk.

  4. The league has to come down as hard as possible this case is unprecedented, and it requires an unprecedented punishment!!

    Hopefully he gets at least 1 game minimum for each case he settles, but it should be 2 full seasons.

  5. Rich people don’t get charged with crimes like the rest of us. No matter how creepy and disgusting they are.

  6. Didn’t the NFLPA bargain away their opportunity to be involved in the discipline of players years ago?
    They gave all the power to Goodell to do whatever he wanted.
    It’s surprising to know there were even negotiations at all.

  7. Players union and the NFL can’t come to agreement on the suspension so the season is cancelled … priceless.

  8. I always laugh at the comments here. You people act like you’re on your way to sainthood, fact is majority on here have stuff in their closet that they’d never want anyone to know

  9. If they technically can only suspend him once then the only reasonable suspension timeframe is indefinite. If cases keep popping up over the next year after they hand down a set amount of time for the suspension it will look like the NFL didn’t do it’s job in investigating Watson extensively enough.

  10. So, for public image purposes they have to hand down a giant suspension and then try the case? That’s an absolutely terrible way to (a) practice law and (b) run a multi-billion $ business.

  11. This is just one problem with unions the list is too long to name all the others. If this guy doesn’t get at least 2 years the NFL is really gonna look bad, Not that it doesn’t already

  12. This is BS. The Browns and Watson purposely negotiated Watson’s contract so if he was suspended for a year, it will have little to no impact financially. Additionally, he was paid in full last year, which minimized the punishment. For me, I would suspend him for a year and fine him the average annual salary of his total contract.

  13. They’ll leave it open ended and just suspend him a game per lawsuit. So 24 games now plus maybe 2 more so 26 games and just add a game with every new lawsuit. See, easy…

  14. The league should place Watson on the exemption list for 2022. Let him collect his $1 million while getting all cases closed. At that point, the league can impose punishment. I don’t understand the league dealing with kid gloves with Watson, and it stands to reason they made promises to the Browns and/or the league was aware and f Watson’s transgressions long before we were.

  15. Same Tyreek Hill suspension guidelines should be held for Watson. Zero criminal charges should equal zero game suspension.

  16. The NFL has a problem with owners and players. So far, the owners have received no real punishments, even when the accusations are sexual assault, so how can they come down hard on Watson, but let Snyder and the others skate?

  17. The whole Ray Rice fiasco was blown way out of proportion. Yes the images, were horrific, but this issue is between him and his wife, not the NFL. All these leagues need to get out of the MORAL POLICE DUTY and stick to improving the game on the field, not wrecking it. I could care less what players do on their free time. Let the legal system handle it. Get out of the policing business and get back to the entertainment business. Now steriods which affect the game and sport itself, by all means suspend away. This whole current culture in this country where everyone acts all holy and never made mistakes in their lives, is absurd. It really takes away from the enjoyment of the game

  18. broughtupbrowns says:
    June 24, 2022 at 3:19 pm
    I always laugh at the comments here. You people act like you’re on your way to sainthood, fact is majority on here have stuff in their closet that they’d never want anyone to know
    Seriously? Do you actually believe what you posted, broughtupBROWNS?……..smh…..

  19. Commissioner Roger Goodell would then have final say over any appeal, filed by either side.—–Once I read that, I stopped reading the article. Come on, whats the point of this whole debacle if that is the case? Waste of time, money, etc…

  20. Nothing wrong with perusing justice. I did not think these women were in it for the $ from the get go. He had to be stopped. That’s what I think. Why get paid off for the truth?

  21. If he gets suspended for doing nothing, I hope he sues the league and Goodell and anyone else involved. And defamation suits against all of these women, and all of the “reporters” who have decided that he is guilty and state it as fact.

  22. Even is you ignore the accusations, how do you give a guy that much guaranteed money when the last time he played was two years ago and only won four games! Browns is the Browns!

  23. chiefsfannc says:

    For what? A bunch of civil lawsuits? When and if he is convicted of a crime then we’ll talk.

    No, we’ll be talking before that.

  24. Seems like another example of the NFL wanting to violate their own rules. Maximum under their own updated Policy is a BASELINE OF A 6 GAME SUSPENSION, with more if aggravating factors are present such a weapon or a child (NEITHER APPLY in Watson’s CASE) if anyone cared to read the policy, and that only applies if sexual assault, domestic violence, assault, and battery are present. (NONE OF THOSE APPLY HERE as Watson was not indicted on any crime).

    SO IN OTHER WORDS PEOPLE THINKING MORE THAN 6 GAMES and OWNERS WANTING MORE, WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF THE NFL’s OWN PERSONAL CONDUCT POLICY. Like I said another example of the NFL making up and violating their own rules, which is why the NFLPA said go pound salt NFL.

  25. It’s disgusting that the Browns gave him a guaranteed’s horrific that they tailored the contract to minimize the financial effect(1M the first year)..the NFL should never have approved the contract

  26. Didn’t ray rice lose his whole career and wasn’t penalized outside of the nfl?

  27. “The decision of the Commissioner or his designee, which may overturn, reduce, modify or increase the discipline previously issued, will be final and binding on all parties.”

    Whatever the discipline ends up being the buck stops at Goodell, and he’s going to do what his 32 bosses tell him to do. Anything that comes before is just for show.

  28. I’ll just assume right now the players union will not interview any of those message therapists before they decide how much punishment Mr Watson should receive. Fair assumption?

  29. Players union need to highlight the discrepancy of how Robert Kraft was punished, or lack there of.

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