So why did Judge Sue L. Robinson suspend Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games? Great question. And it’s impossible to answer that question without reading her ruling.
We’re told that it’s a 16-page document. But we haven’t seen it yet.
For now, the NFL and the NFL Players Association have not published the decision. The union responded to our question as to whether the decision will be released by saying that it doesn’t know. The league has not yet responded to an email and a text message raising the question.
The decision needs to be released. Freely and publicly and openly. Not as a commodity slipped to a reporter who is either on the NFL’s payroll (literally) or who has put someone at 345 Park Avenue on the Christmas chocolate list. It need to be posted by the NFL and the NFLPA at their websites, now.
That’s how it had always been, before the Washington investigation was brushed under the rug. Full transparency. How else can anyone understand why Judge Robinson did what she did? To the extent that the league needs the general public to buy in to the decision, people need to be able to read it. To understand it. To see what the evidence was. What it wasn’t. And how she came to the conclusion that Watson violated the policy and should miss six games for it.
Obviously, the names of the four accusers whose claims triggered the suspension would have to be redacted from the ruling. (And maybe they already are.) It would be unfortunate, but not surprising, if the league doesn’t want to do that.
Concealing the names of the accusers would expose the stupidity of that NFL’s position that it wasn’t good enough to simply change the names of the cooperating employees in the Washington case, and that the only way to protect the witnesses was to hide all of the evidence. If the league releases Judge Robinson’s ruling with the names of the accusers omitted, the league will face a renewed call to do the same thing with Beth Wilkinson’s report in the Washington case.