It was the Monday morning news Cleveland Browns and NFL fans waited months to hear.
According to Ian Rapoport, NFL arbitrator Sue L. Robinson issued a suspension of 6 games for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson as a result of the sexual misconduct cases that have been in the headlines for over a year.
Parties involved in the disciplinary hearing for #Browns QB Deshaun Watson have been informed by Judge Sue Robinson that Watson should be suspended 6 games, sources say.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2022
With that in mind, Watson will take the field as the Browns QB1 on October 23, 2022, at Baltimore, after an almost two-year hiatus.
As expected, the news met with a variety of fan reactions.
Here is a sampling of them.
1. A Less Severe Suspension Than Ridley
Calvin Ridley is suspended for the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games.
Fans are outraged that Watson’s suspension, for behavior believed to be more detrimental than Ridley’s, was significantly less.
Yet Calvin Ridley was suspended a year for betting on games.
— Craig Cambron (@WayofCraig) August 1, 2022
Gambling is more dangerous to society than sexual assault according to the nfl
— KSG (@KSG_SKOL) August 1, 2022
This is corruption
Sexually assaulting women: 6 games
Betting money on your own team: 1 year
— Catpocalypse18&7 ⛰️ (@Catpocalypse187) August 1, 2022
2. An Equal Suspension With Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins was suspended for six games for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs (PED) policy.
Watson’s punishment is equal to that; this did not sit well with some.
For perspective, Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins received a 6-game suspension for a PED violation.
Deshaun Watson was facing over 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 1, 2022
One fan pointed to the NFL’s concern for “competitive integrity” which could explain Ridley’s and Hopkins’ suspensions.
NFL is more concerned about protecting competitive integrity of the product on the field.
Should they hold their players more accountable for their off the field behavior? Yeah, but we already knew that they don’t before this case. This shouldn’t come as a surprise tbh
— blind tailer picks (@BlindTailer) August 1, 2022
Some went further back in history and alluded to Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for “deflate-gate”.
Brady 4, for a ball…
The precedent has been set for Watson, this is grotesque.
— Mid-Flight Thoughts (@SaveTeamCasey) August 1, 2022
The integrity of the game > women.
— FF Mike (@FFMike_) August 1, 2022
3. No Fine For Watson
Some expected a hefty fine to be levied on Watson, but that did not happen either.
Robinson issued no fine.
So the discipline for #Browns QB Deshaun Watson, pending a possible NFL appeal:
No additional fine
Sue L. Robinson’s decision also requires no massages other than directed by club personnel and no adverse involvement with no law enforcement.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 1, 2022
She also said that no massages will be conducted without the direction of Browns personnel.
Though some fans were outraged, there is a segment of the fanbase that thinks Watson was treated poorly with the six game suspension.
Ridley also did something wrong. Watson just got 6 games for accusations unreal
— Apollo Tweed (@ApolloTweed1) August 1, 2022
4. Will The NFL Appeal?
We know that Watson and the NFLPA are not planning to appeal.
They announced it on Sunday evening.
The NFLPA has issued a statement saying it will not appeal Sue L. Robinson’s ruling on Deshaun Watson, and calling on the NFL to do the same. pic.twitter.com/I6V9BSnPVq
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 31, 2022
The question remains, will the NFL appeal?
Commissioner Roger Goodell would make the decision on an appeal.
Goodell can still do something regardless of this
— RockChalk (@chgojayhawk) August 1, 2022
Stay tuned; this story is far from over.