clearn.png
Sunday August 7th, 2022 9:06PM

Analysis: No winners in Deshaun Watson's case

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension will stand only if the NFL allows it.

The punishment given to the Cleveland Browns quarterback by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy fell far short of the one-year suspension the league wanted.

No problem. Because of the collective bargaining agreement, the league can appeal Robinson’s decision and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person he designates could then increase the suspension and impose a substantial fine.

The ball is in the NFL’s court.

The league has three days to file an appeal and is mulling its options.

Still, the NFL Players Association could then try to challenge Goodell’s ruling on an appeal in federal court.

One league official told The Associated Press before the three-day disciplinary hearing was held in June that both sides should try to avoid an appeal. The union already announced Sunday night it would abide by Robinson’s ruling.

However, public reaction could determine the NFL’s next step. It wouldn’t be the first time the league reacts to an outcry from its followers.

“The NFL may be a ‘forward-facing’ organization, but it is not necessarily a forward-looking one,” Robinson wrote in the conclusion to her 16-page report on the suspension. “Just as the NFL responded to violent conduct after a public outcry, so it seems the NFL is responding to yet another public outcry about Mr. Watson’s conduct. At least in the former situation, the Policy was changed and applied proactively. Here, the NFL is attempting to impose a more dramatic shift in its culture without the benefit of fair notice to — and consistency of consequence for — those in the NFL subject to the Policy.”

Robinson was referring to the league changing its personal conduct policy in 2014 after former Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice was initially suspended two games for domestic violence. Rice was later banished indefinitely after video of the incident surfaced. An arbitrator overturned that suspension but Rice never played again in the league.

Back then, Goodell had authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy. That changed in the 2020 CBA when the union negotiated the process to have a disciplinary officer make that ruling.

In handing down a six-game suspension, Robinson noted the league acknowledged during the hearing that its recommended punishment was “unprecedented” and she concluded the NFL should not change its standards of discipline for nonviolent sexual assault without giving fair notice to players.

“While it may be entirely appropriate to more severely discipline players for non-violent sexual conduct, I do not believe it is appropriate to do so without notice of the extraordinary change this position portends for the NFL and its players,” Robinson wrote.

To be clear: Robinson sided with the NFL in determining Watson violated three provisions of the personal conduct policy: sexual assault; conduct posing 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.

The retired federal judge also rejected Watson’s denials of wrongdoing and considered his “lack of expressed remorse” to be an aggravating factor.

But, she couldn’t impose the severe penalty the NFL sought because it would be changing the penalty after the act.

Using Goodell’s words in Tom Brady’s deflated footballs case, she wrote: “I am bound ‘by standards of fairness and consistency of treatment among players similarly situated.’”

Now, it’s up to the NFL to accept her decision or appeal, and there are varying opinions within the league offices.

The NFL potentially faces a no-win situation.

An appeal would undermine the collectively bargained process with the jointly appointed disciplinary officer, and make it seem like a sham. Accepting Robinson’s decision leaves the NFL open to criticism because it could be perceived as lenient.

___

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/robmaaddi

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Business, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Beyoncé to remove offensive word from new song
Beyoncé is the second artist to remove an offensive term for disabled people from a new song after complaints
3:12AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Stocks start August with slide after best month since 2020
Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street Monday as investors began another busy week of earnings and economic reports
3:07AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Analysis: No winners in Deshaun Watson's case
Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension will stand only if the NFL allows it
3:00AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Braves get OF Robbie Grossman from Tigers for minor leaguer
The defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves have acquired veteran corner outfielder Robbie Grossman in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitcher Kris Anglin
12:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
Montas to Yankees, Mancini to Astros ahead of trade deadline
The trade market got busy ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, with the New York Yankees acquiring pitcher Frankie Montas from Oakland for four prospects
12:08AM ( 3 hours ago )
Norman says Tiger Woods turned down $700-800M Saudi offer
Tiger Woods turned down a Saudi offer Greg Norman says was in the neighborhood of $700 million to $800 million
12:03AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Browns QB Watson suspended 6 games, NFL weighs appeal
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games after being accused by two dozen women in Texas of sexual misconduct during massage treatments, in what a disciplinary officer said was behavior “more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.”
6:53PM ( 8 hours ago )
Falcons defensive guru Pees determined to raise expectations
Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees is making sure his players know he won’t stand for another season like 2021, when Atlanta finished 7-10
4:10PM ( 11 hours ago )
Browns QB Deshaun Watson suspended for 6 games
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by two dozen women in Texas during massage treatments
2:46PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Football
EXPLAINER: How health care for vets became fight in Congress
A bill that enhances health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits has hit a snag in the Senate
12:13AM ( 3 hours ago )
Stephen King set to testify for govt in books merger trial
Renowned author Stephen King is set to take the stand Tuesday at a federal antitrust trial in Washington
12:11AM ( 3 hours ago )
World one step from `nuclear annihilation,' UN chief warns
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sounding the alarm over the war in Ukraine, nuclear threats in Asia and the Middle East, and other tensions
12:07AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Cardinals prepare for 6 games without suspended star Hopkins
The Arizona Cardinals are preparing for six games without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins
7:25PM ( 2 days ago )
Deshaun Watson gets muted reaction at Browns' open practice
Deshaun Watson sprinted onto the field to a light round of cheers Saturday at the Cleveland Browns’ first open practice of training camp
6:09PM ( 2 days ago )
McDaniel's path to Dolphins started with a lost hat as a fan
Having fans at training camp is not an annoyance to Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel
11:50AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Beyoncé to remove offensive word from new song
Beyoncé is the second artist to remove an offensive term for disabled people from a new song after complaints
3:12AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Stocks start August with slide after best month since 2020
Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street Monday as investors began another busy week of earnings and economic reports
3:07AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Stocks slide to start in August after best month since 2020
Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street Monday as investors began another busy week of earnings and economic reports
2:49AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Frustrating recovery could be hurricane harbinger for South
The continuing recovery from a small tornado that hit a poor Southern community shows how hard it may be to get over a big storm as the heart of hurricane season approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast
2:44AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Pelosi arrives in Malaysia, tensions rise over Taiwan visit
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has arrived in Malaysia for the second leg of an Asian tour that is being overshadowed by an expected stop in Taiwan, which would escalate tensions with Beijing
2:41AM ( 59 minutes ago )