Watson Suspension: Last-Minute Settlement Talks, Next Steps
The NFL must now weigh several factors as the league decides whether to appeal a suspension lighter than it wanted. There’s a passage in Sue L. Robinson’s 15-page decision on Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson that cuts to the heart of how she felt the NFL wanted the disciplinary process to go. It’s one that can also illuminate where things go next.“The NFL may be a ‘forward-facing’ organization, but it is not necessarily a forward-looking one,” she wrote. “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.
On Monday morning, retired federal judge Sue L. Robinson handed down the initial suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. The six-game suspension, given the sheer number of women who have claimed that Watson engaged in unwanted sexual advances against them, will make nobody who believes that the NFL doesn’t care about violence against women feel any better about the entire situation. © Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal 18. Cleveland Browns: .495
It is important to note that Robinson’s ruling is not the NFL’s ruling. Robinson was jointly hired by the NFL and the NFLPA to administer punishment in this case. She had spent three days in June listening to testimony from the NFL, the NFLPA, and Watson’s legal team in June, in her home state of Delaware. The NFL had reportedly been pushing for a stronger suspension all along, and the league can appeal Robinson’s ruling. In settlement talks, the NFL had offered a 12-game suspension and a fine of at least $8 million. Had Robinson ruled that Watson committed no violation, the league could not have appealed it. The process would have been over.
Deshaun Watson Ruling Calls Out NFL’s Past Inconsistencies
Suspension makes it clear: Arbitrator Sue L. Robinson is calling for the NFL to wake up and improve both its understanding and policies surrounding sexual harassment, assault and misconduct. Here are the lone, palatable silver linings amid the news that Deshaun Watson will be suspended only six games for dozens of instances of sexual harassment and misconduct: The decision written by former federal Judge Sue L.
Legal optimists might say that Robinson basically put this back in the NFL’s hands to make such an appeal. Others may say, and with great justification, that Robinson completely misread the nature of Watson’s alleged violations.
Our Touchdown Wire colleague Laurie Fitzpatrick put it about as tactfully as it can be put.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Sexual violence means that someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. Anyone can experience sexual violence including: children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals or strangers.”
Deshaun Watson receives six-game suspension from arbiter
Both sides can appeal the decision to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Prior to the ruling, the NFLPA and Watson announced they would abide by the arbiter’s ruling. According to Rob Maaddi at the Associated Press, league sources suggested the NFL was pushing for a minimum one-year suspension for Watson, while Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, and his legal team were — unsurprisingly — pushing for no suspension. Maaddi also reported that the league would be willing to consider a shorter suspension of six to eight games simply to avoid the appeals process.
The NSVRC also points out that sexual violence can include unwanted sexual contact/touching, showing one’s genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent, and masturbating in public.
According to a recent report from the New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas, Watson did all of those things on multiple occasions. At least one woman withdrew her complaint against Watson, per Vrentas, because of “privacy and security concerns.
Again per the NSVRC, there are many reasons why victims may choose not to report to law enforcement or tell anyone about what happened to him/her. Some include:
Concern for not being believed Fear of the attackers getting back at him/her Embarrassment or shame Fear of being blamed Pressure from others not to tell Distrust of law enforcement Belief that there is not enough evidence Desire to protect the attacker
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center issued a statement.
Attention on Watson and the Browns Nothing New in Cleveland
The team has dealt with a lot of unusual circumstances the last decade, but this one is obviously different. BEREA, Ohio—This Day 1 wasn’t unlike a lot of others in this corner of suburban Cleveland.There was the year the Browns had 28-year-old first-round quarterback Brandon Weeden. The year Johnny Manziel arrived. The year Baker Mayfield got here. The year Odell Beckham Jr. came on board. New coach after new coach. Lots of hopes that ended up dashed. And that’s just in the last decade alone.
If Robinson believed that what Watson did was non-violent, perhaps she should have looked more specifically into the actual definitions of sexual violence. Sadly, it seems that she did not. MORE:
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NFL teams reportedly upset with Deshaun Watson’s “rigged” contract .
The Cleveland Browns certainly raised eyebrows when they decided to sign controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson to a massive $230 million contract amid sexual misconduct allegations. Watson has since settled with 23 of his 24 accusers and has been issued a six-game suspension that will be final unless the NFL wins their appeal to potentially extend Watson’s Read more The post NFL teams reportedly upset with Deshaun Watson’s “rigged” contract appeared first on The Comeback: Today’s Top Sports Stories & Reactions.