The NFL has appealed the proposed six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and looking to hit him with a more severe suspension before the 2022 regular season begins. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters during a league meeting on Tuesday and said the league is looking to suspend Watson for a year. If that happens, Watson will not play for the second consecutive season as the Houston Texans benched him for all of 2021.
"We've seen the evidence," Goodell said, per NFL.com. "[Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence. That there was multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that's responsible."
Robinson issued the six-game suspension to Watson on Aug. 1, writing that the 26-year-old. engaged in "sexual assault; conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL." Once Robinson's decision was announced, the Browns reacted to the news.
"Throughout this process, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the newly created and agreed upon process for the NFLPA and the NFL to defer to the objective Judge Sue L. Robinson to comprehensively review all information and make a fair decision," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. "We respect Judge Robinson's decision, and at the same time, empathize and understand that there have been many individuals triggered throughout this process. We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field, and we will continue to support him."
Watson will be suspended this season, it's now just figuring out how long the suspension will be. In the meantime, the Browns are getting ready for the preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday, and the plan is to have Watson start the game. Watson was accused of sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. The encounters took place from March 2020 to March 2021 while Watson was a member of the Texans. He was traded to the Browns in March and signed a $230 million guaranteed contract.