After NFL arbitrator Sue L. Robinson assigned a six-game suspension to Watson on Monday, the NFL has chosen to appeal the suspension on Wednesday afternoon, as reported by Ian Rapoport.
The NFL is appealing the Deshaun Watson 6-game suspension.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 3, 2022
What Does It Mean?
One thing for sure is that it means the uncertainty about Watson’s availability during the 2022 season continues.
While Watson and the NFL Players Association communicated their decision not to appeal Robinson’s ruling the evening before it was released, it was never clear what the NFL would do.
According to Jeff Darlington, the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension with a minimum of one year served.
The NFL is also seeking a monetary fine.
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
According to Albert Breer, the NFL is citing this as the most “egregious” behavior it has seen.
The NFL’s appeal brief calls for an indefinite suspension of Browns QB Deshaun Watson. It also positions Watson’s behavior as the most egregious it’s ever seen.
(The union will cite numerous examples in its response brief, due Friday, to try to disprove that.)
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 3, 2022
What Are The Next Steps?
Per Noah Weiskopf, the NFLPA has two days to respond to the appeal.
The @NFLPA now has two days to respond to the appeal. Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide whether he or a designer will hear the appeal. Watson’s side will also decide whether or not they want to sue the #NFL. #Browns
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) August 3, 2022
The NFLPA will certainly cite precedent among players and owners as part of its response.
Roger Goodell also must decide if he will designate an alternate party to hear the appeal.
Watson’s side also has a decision to make, whether he will sue the NFL.
The Distraction Continues
With training camp underway and teams preparing for the 2022 season, this continues to be a big distraction for the Browns.
The front office knew this could happen so it is likely there are contingency plans in place.
What is not clear is how long this could continue until there is a definitive resolution.
No one can be happy about this, starting with Robinson herself.
The NFLPA, Watson, and the Browns cannot be pleased either.
Watson's camp was unhappy with the 6 game suspension, as they believed the number of games was too substantial. They continue to share that Watson did not do anything wrong.
They have no comment on the league's appeal at this time.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) August 3, 2022
Per Dianna Russini, Watson’s people thought six games was too many so this definitely cannot sit well with them.
We will keep you posted as this story continues to evolve.