Deshaun Watson appeal will proceed on paper only, with no hearing

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Now that the NFL has appealed the Deshaun Watson decision to the NFL, what happens next?

The Personal Conduct Policy and the relevant provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement lay out the next steps.

Here’e the relevant language of the Personal Conduct Policy: “Such appeals will be: (i) processed on an expedited basis; (ii) limited to consideration of the terms of discipline imposed; and (iii) based upon a review of the existing record without reference to evidence or testimony not previously considered. No additional evidence or testimony shall be presented to or accepted by the Commissioner or his designee. Any factual findings and evidentiary determinations of the Disciplinary Officer will be binding to the parties on appeal, and 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.”

Because there’s no new evidence, there’s no reason for a new hearing. Neither the Personal Conduct Policy nor the CBA call for a hearing on appeal. Instead, it’s simply a matter of both sides submitting their paperwork to Commissioner Roger Goodell or whoever he designates to reach the same decision he would reach.

In this specific case, the factual findings and evidentiary determinations made by Judge Sue L. Robinson give the Commissioner or his designee all the ammunition needed to replace her six-game suspension with something more. She found that Watson violated three different provisions of the policy as to four different people. Nothing about her decision to suspend Watson six games limits the ability of Goodell or his designee to implement a much longer suspension.

That’s the most important thing to remember. Judge Robinson determined the facts. And the facts that she determined are exactly what the NFL wanted them to be. Although the NFL didn’t like her decision as to the length of a suspension, the NFL has the ability under the policy to appeal the decision to the NFL, and to replace her six-game suspension with whatever the NFL would prefer it otherwise be.

58 responses to “Deshaun Watson appeal will proceed on paper only, with no hearing

  1. The NFLPA should threaten GODell with a strike if he insists in overturning Judge Robinson’s ruling.

  2. He’s played his last down as an NFL QB. The.NFL will keep him off the field then new allegations will emerge. Rinse and repeat.

  3. I understand why the players hate a quasi-judicial process that allows one party to appeal a decision to itself, but they agreed to the CBA. If they didn’t like it, they could have voted against it.

  4. And the NFLPA has the right to sue, and the NFL will never go through discovery. So Rodger wins a headline and loses arbitration later. This isn’t rocket science, folks.

  5. So basically Roger the dictator will suspend him for a whole year regardless of what the non-biased federal judge decided. Shocker. Even if you believe Watson should be suspended for a whole year you have to see how how the whole process is rigged and manipulated in every single disciplinary action by the league. Goodell can and will abuse his power every single time.

  6. This makes no sense: The NFL handpicked this lady to analyze this evidence, pass judgement and apply a sentence. The NFL doesn’t like the sentence and wants to appeal. You can’t make this up.

  7. 34 games and fines to reduce his pay to $25 grand – about what a massage palkor worker might get per year.

  8. The NFL is playing chess while the NFLPA is still working on learning the rules to tic tac toe.

  9. The players cannot complain about this appeal process that is ultimately decided by the commissioner. After the Deflategate debacle the players negotiated a new CBA that did not address this issue.

  10. Who actually is submitting the appeal? Seems like it is just a bunch of Goodells wearing different hats deciding what was programmed by the owners.

  11. Goodell is going to make the final decision as is his right under the CBA. Deshaun is not playing this year. Such a brilliant trade by the Browns.

  12. Whomever from the NFLPA let this get written into the CBA was asleep at the switch.

  13. Sentencing should be easy for the NFL, Judge Robinson gave the formula of 1.5 games per accuser, carried over the 24 accuser settlements, that is 36 games. Close the book on this, justice for the women, let’s move forward and play some football.

  14. Time for the sham appeal and the suspension that has to happen for the NFL to look like it cares and save face/sponsorship money

  15. So that was a waste of time and money. It in the end its going to be whatever Goodell decides regardless of the ruling, then it should have just gone to Goodell in the first place.

  16. “the NFL has the ability under the policy to appeal the decision to the NFL.” Legal mumbo jumbo at its finest. This whole thing has officially become a cluster.

  17. Then why even bother with judge Robinson’s decision? The whole thing is a sham.

  18. It seems the judge of this appeal might want to talk to Watson and ask him why he felt the need to run through so many women. He hired no men that I am aware of.

  19. How did the NFLPA agree to this resolution process?

    What did the NFLPA get in return during negotiations? Less padded practices? SMH.

  20. The PA overplayed their hand. They should have accepted a penalty more in line with public sentiment to avoid this. The Browns also probably contributed by structuring his contract to avoid significant financial penalties if suspended. Now they both hold no cards and the NFL can do as it pleases based on a mutually agreed CBA.

    I, for one, hope for a long suspension.

  21. indefinite suspension. Minimum one year without pay. Six games is a total joke!

  22. So, why was the punishment decided by a third party at all? Also, the league appeals said decision, to Goodell? Not defending Watson at all, but that makes no sense either.

  23. The only recourse for the NFLPA is to beat Goodell to the punch and file the federal lawsuit…..where arguments can be made that this punishment would be unprecedented particularly when the owners have to be held to the higher standard.

  24. Have to wonder how Watson performs after not playing in an actual game for two years. Sure he’s still a young guy but seen players off the field for an extended period and they just never seem to get their mojo back…

  25. The NFLPA is getting what it deserves for signing off on such a one-sided agreement. The golden rule applies here; he who has the gold makes the rules…

  26. Isn’t it just peachy that the NFL/Roger think their idea of punishment should be greater than a former Federal Judge’s idea of punishment? What a facade this has become.

  27. ‘ …the NFL has the ability under the policy to appeal the decision to the NFL …’
    Judge Robinson made sure to put the NFL in the best position/justification possible to impose a full year and more.
    The complete disconnect between the leniency of the suspension and the harshness of her words towards Watson, did create an uproar, so now the NFL, with new ammunition they did not have at the time of the settlements talks, can go way beyond 12 games.
    The NFLPA must regret they did not settle with the NFL. I guess the NFL wants to make them pay for bringing the owners in the picture and bragging with 6-8 games.

  28. So what was the point of having a ‘real’ judge determine the facts/punishment when the NFL can do whatever they want? Waste of time and money.

  29. Judge Robinson will likely hand in her resignation, or should, given that she was played as a pawn by Roger and company…

  30. Many people ask why is Robinson even there, if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. If the NFL wants to suspend a player, they will have to deal with the NFLPA and their nonsense, but if they have Robinson which they both agreed upon, the NFL can ultimately do whatever they want to do with the NFLPA left without a leg to stand on if things don’t go the way they want them to. The NFLPA can cry or threaten to sue until the cows come home, but sorry, NFLPA “YOU” agreed to this in the CBA. It isn’t the NFL’s fault that they are two steps ahead and playing 4D chess while you are playing checkers and seriously thinking you really have a say in how the NFL runs it’s business. Great job on the current CBA NFLPA, ya blew it.

  31. They’ll move to 8 to try to save face and appease both sides.

    Hence, why Cleveland was “bracing for 8 games”. Just watch.

  32. The problem with the NFL is it’s allowing the “court of public opinion” to dictate how it behaves which is the worst thing any supposed “fair” process should do which is why the saying “justice is blind” exists. The NFL charged Watson based on 4 counts. Any kind of discipline is based on those 4 counts only not the totality of civil lawsuits he’s facing. Most people that are complaining are trying to force punishment based on all the civil lawsuits which isn’t how any fair judicial process would work of course the NFL isn’t a real judicial process anyways. The good part is we at least finally have some real games on the docket starting today so this will take a backseat to most.

  33. It`s ridiculous how many people want to post comments like their experts but won`t even take the time to understand the process or the facts.
    Sue Robinson wasn`t appointed by the NFL she was agreed on by the NFL AND the NFLPA.
    Sue Robinson didn`t suspend Watson 6 games she RECOMMENDED a 6 game suspension because that is all she was hired to do.
    If she ruled not guilty the NFL couldn`t appeal and her decision would be binding but since Watson was guilty either side can appeal. That is what the NFLPA agreed to in the CBA because it wasn`t as important to them as getting as much money in the deal as possible which is fine but you can`t have it both ways. That is why the NFLPA has lost every court battle because you can`t collectively bargain and agree to something and then try to sue when it doesn`t go your way.
    People on here are acting like the NFL is trying to change things because they didn`t get the outcome they wanted when the fact is it`s the NFLPA doing that. The NFL is doing exactly what the CBA says!

  34. Judge Robinson didn’t just smack Watson in her decision. She also smacked the NFL for their broad overreach in asking for an indefinate suspension, when precedent did not support that. That is one of the “facts” that Goodell or his designee must consider. It will be really interesting to see if the NFL selectively chooses and omits what facts Sue Robinson found to meet thei agenda and change the suspension.

  35. rogerstarbuck says:
    August 3, 2022 at 11:17 pm
    He’s played his last down as an NFL QB. The.NFL will keep him off the field then new allegations will emerge. Rinse and repeat.


    I think that’s at least the fear from Goodell’s perspective and why he wants an indefinite suspension. If new allegations emerge or it’s clear that Watson hasn’t changed his behavior then Goodell needs a way to keep him out.

  36. touchback6 says:
    August 4, 2022 at 9:31 am
    They’ll move to 8 to try to save face and appease both sides.


    I really don’t think Goodell would see any difference between 6 and 8 games. Might as well not appeal. Maybe 8 games minimum in an indefinite suspension. That I could maybe see. Automatic reinstatement is the number one thing Goodell wants to get rid of I am sure.

  37. purpleisjustwrong says:
    August 4, 2022 at 7:03 am
    Then why even bother with judge Robinson’s decision? The whole thing is a sham.


    It’s up to Goodell in the end, so I also don’t understand why they bother. I think it’s so Goodell has a base decision to work from that he knows will be supported by a court.

  38. The NFLPA did this to themselves. They were so worried about allowing pot smoking and squeezing more money from owners, they failed to see that they gave away the store, again.

  39. “Then why even bother with judge Robinson’s decision? The whole thing is a sham.”

    The judge is there to determine culpability. She found that based on a preponderance of the evidence, that Watson is guilty. Had she found him innocent, the process would be over and Goodell couldn’t change a thing. But because she found him guilty, Goodell had final word on what the punishment will be.

  40. Judge Robinson is a joke! She factored Watson’s decision to sit out the 2021 season ( with pay ) as part of his punishment. The punishment should be a minimum of 23 games starting with week 1 of the 2022 season!

  41. The NFL has been so inconsistent with how they have punished that the judge said heck yes he is guilty and yes he has no remorse and yes the team has no concern for women but y’all have mismanaged punishments in the past so bad that I have to only go 6 games because of past practices. So here ya go, here’s my decision written out in a way that you can win off of appeal and set a new precedent up.

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