On Monday, the Cleveland Browns and their fan base breathed a sigh of relief when independent arbitrator Sue Robinson, a former federal judge, gave quarterback Deshaun Watson a six-game suspension for his sexual misconduct allegations.
Many had feared for months that he would be banned for a full season, or possibly more.
Once Robinson handed down her decision, both the NFL and Watson’s camp had 72 hours to file an appeal, and sure enough, on Wednesday, the league did just that.
It will also have some say in who will hear the appeal.
It is now up to Commissioner Roger Goodell to decide who will hear the appeal of the Deshaun Watson suspension.
It can be Goodell himself or a designee of his choosing.
A crucial next step.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 3, 2022
Plenty of people expected commissioner Roger Goodell to appeal Robinson’s ruling and to aim towards giving Watson a much harsher suspension, as well as a hefty fine.
Across social media, fans reacted to the situation.
If the league is going to suspend Deshaun Watson (the nfl is appealing the ruling from Monday, so this happens)….. why hasn’t Daniel Snyder been punished? @nfl
— Coach Johnson (@Coach3johnson) August 4, 2022
I still want to hear what Deshaun Watson did. If not criminal, what is he being suspended for?
— D.Pick (@BestLifeDom) August 4, 2022
So the NFL made an entire process with an independent arbiter who was a former federal judge just so that they could immediately appeal to themselves the second they disagree with her. What was the point of the judge than? Deshaun Watson situation is the worst NFL situation ever. https://t.co/KhqX0dFepW
— Quintonio Brown (@QuintonioBrown) August 3, 2022
We gonna see Hollywood turn this whole Deshaun Watson thing into a movie in about 20 years
— Mezz Branson (@ellsworthjetson) August 4, 2022
Deshaun Watson better get a season suspension. I swear if this appeal makes it less…
— Mason💛💙 (@masonyo25) August 3, 2022
The sheer number of women Deshaun Watson abused, and the fact that he used his status as an NFL player to get access to women to abuse, makes his case unique in NFL history. A six-game suspension is a joke. Of course his suspension should be and will be extended on appeal.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 3, 2022
Now the NFLPA will sue the NFL & Deshaun Watson will be playing week 1. How can you put something in place then appeal the decision of the one you put there because you didn't get your way? Terrible precedent here! https://t.co/Be7e6q1Rjx
— Ken Clark_1400 (@KC512_601) August 3, 2022
The Evidence Against Watson
Several weeks ago, Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times put together an outstanding expose piece on the Watson saga, and the paper found that he had hired a whopping 66 different massage therapists over a 17-month period, all of whom were women.
The article gave all kinds of lurid details about just a few of the incidents in question.
With numerous NFL players involved in terrible off-the-field incidents in recent years, there has been a feeling Goodell may have to act harshly on Watson simply to save face.
The whole saga has seemingly divided Browns fans in half.
Some don’t believe the allegations at all, thinking that it’s nothing more than a greedy cash grab by the accusers and Buzbee.
Others are disgusted that the Browns traded for Watson, knowing all well that he was facing over 20 lawsuits and that the league would seek some sort of suspension.
Meanwhile, the Browns’ playoff hopes seem to be hinging on whatever decision is made regarding the NFL’s appeal of the three-time Pro Bowler’s suspension.
An extension of that suspension would almost certainly wipe out any chance Cleveland may have of reaching the postseason for only the second time since 2002.