On Monday, former federal judge Sue Robinson, acting independently of the NFL and the players’ association, ruled that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should face a six-game suspension as a result of his sexual misconduct allegations.
Both sides had 72 hours to file an appeal, and as many expected, the league office filed an appeal on Wednesday.
Sources say the NFL wants Watson suspended for at least one season, and it desires to add a hefty fine to his discipline as well.
I'm told NFL is appealing for an indefinite suspension that would be a minimum of one year. But perhaps more significant given the structure of Watson's contract, source tells me the NFL's appeal will also include a monetary fine. Money is now a significant part of the equation.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) August 3, 2022
Such a penalty would be more in line with what many expected in the first place, as well as a penalty that many felt was appropriate given what Watson has been accused of.
The league originally wanted him sidelined for a minimum of 12 games, and there is reportedly a reason for that exact number other than seeking an appropriate penalty.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the NFL doesn’t want Watson to play in the Browns’ Week 13 contest versus the Houston Texans (which would be Cleveland’s 12th game of the season), which will take place in the Lone Star State.
This is correct from @AlbertBreer. I have also heard from sources that the #NFL and Roger Goodell specifically doesn’t want Watson playing in the Houston game in week 12. Which lines up with the league previously circling a 12 game suspension in (very limited) settlement talks. https://t.co/4AmPMemC9M
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 3, 2022
Watson Didn’t Leave The Texans On The Best Of Terms
When the Texans took Watson with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, they were a decent team that more often than not made the playoffs, but nothing more than that.
The team had to make do with a number of mediocre signal-callers such as Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Fitzpatrick prior to Watson’s arrival.
Once the former Clemson University star became a Pro Bowler in his second pro season, he made the Texans into a legitimate playoff team again.
But Houston went just 4-12 in the 2020 campaign, partly because it traded away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
Shortly after the conclusion of the season, Watson asked to be traded, but management was reluctant to accommodate him.
Just weeks later, he was hit with his first of dozens of sexual misconduct allegations by massage therapists.
Could it be that the NFL just doesn’t want an ugly scene if Watson were to return to NRG Stadium and Texans fans were to let him have it and take out their frustration and anger on him?
The Browns’ Playoff Hopes Seem To Be Hanging In The Balance
When Robinson reached her decision of a six-game ban for Watson, it looked like the Browns could still reach the postseason, even if it would be difficult to win games during his suspension.
But now, it seems their playoff hopes will hinge on the decision made on the NFL’s appeal.
Cleveland starts a very tough stretch in Week 5 when it takes on the Los Angeles Chargers, and that stretch will continue until Week 12 with a contest against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If Watson misses all of those contests, the Browns can all but kiss their playoff hopes goodbye, as there is virtually no chance of them winning the majority of them with Jacoby Brissett under center.