The Browns go to training camp next week. It makes plenty of sense for Judge Sue L. Robinson to issue her ruling on quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s potential discipline before then.
From the moment the hearing ended three weeks ago today and Judge Robinson set a deadline of July 12 for the submission of written materials from the parties, the week of July 25 seemed to be the ideal period of time for a decision. From a P.R. perspective, it’s even more ideal if she issues her decision on Friday afternoon.
Last Friday, the Texans’ settlement of 30 claims related to Watson’s alleged misconduct emerged in the late morning/early afternoon. By Monday morning, it was largely forgotten. Although the ruling on a Deshaun Watson suspension wouldn’t be a faded memory by morning drive-time on Monday, it will have less oomph on Monday if it’s published tomorrow afternoon.
The NFL, if it were being candid, would say it would prefer that the ruling come on Friday afternoon. The NFL Players Association likely would feel the same way. If, as some believe, Watson won’t get the kind of significant punishment that many had believed he’d experience, the league and the union have a shared interest in trying to reduce the backlash from fans and media over the perception that Watson didn’t get the kind of punishment that many believe he deserves.
The Browns, as we’ve reported, are bracing for eight games. A person with knowledge of the submissions made by the parties has suggested a range of two to eight games. By Friday afternoon, the answer finally may arrive.
Subject, of course, to an appeal by either side to Commissioner Roger Goodell — unless Judge Robinson’s decides that there should be no discipline at all.