Life ain’t easy for a judge named Sue. At least not this week.
The football-following world watches and waits for retired federal judge Sue L. Robinson to issue her decision as to the potential punishment of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson under the Personal Conduct Policy. She received post-hearing briefs from the NFL and the NFL Players Association six days ago. So when will a ruling come?
Our guess continues to be that she’ll issue a written decision at some point next week, on or after July 25. If she’s plugged into the league’s habit of tucking certain news into certain slower windows during a given week, it may land in the late-afternoon hours of Friday, July 22.
Whenever it comes, it needs to be a full and complete explanation of the evidence that was presented at the three-day hearing, the facts as she deems them to be, and the manner in which the Personal Conduct Policy applies to those facts. If she’s going to issue a limited suspension, or even none at all, people need to understand why she concluded what she concluded. People need to be able to set aside whatever they already believe and develop a belief that she got it right.
It won’t be easy. Plenty of people won’t read her ruling. Plenty of people won’t change their pre-existing mindsets. Plenty of people won’t push any agenda other than the one that meshes with their rooting interests.
The Browns open camp on July 26. It would be useful for them, and for everyone else, to know whether he’ll be suspended for all or part of the season.
Of course, Judge Robinson’s ruling ends the case only if she imposes no discipline at all. Either side can appeal her decision, if she imposes any amount of punishment. Which means it possibly will keep going through the balance of July and into August.
For now, it’s Judge Sue’s move.