A source familiar with the appeal tells Judy Battista that the NFL is again seeking a full-year suspension for Watson.
Battista adds that this could lead to settlement talks picking up between the NFL and NFLPA.
Here’s the full statement from the NFL:
“On Monday, Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent Disciplinary Officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association, issued her ruling in the Personal Conduct Policy matter regarding Deshaun Watson,” the league said in a statement on Wednesday. “Under the 2020 NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’), the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed. Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s personal-conduct policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games. The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer. Such an appeal must be filed within three days and would be heard by the Commissioner or his designee.
“The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.”
The expectation has been that the NFL was going to file an appeal, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal and the NFLPA will have two days to respond.
Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled earlier in the week that Watson should be suspended for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
There were settlement talks, but the league was unwilling to settle for less than 12 games and was seeking full season suspension.
Robinson also ruled that Watson can only receive massage therapy through massage therapists who work for the Browns.
Watson, 26, was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Clemson by the Texans. He signed a four-year, $13.854 million with the Texans that included a fifth-year option around $17.3 million for the 2021 season.
The Texans signed Watson to a four-year deal worth as much as $177 million heading into the 2020 season, paying him $39 million a year. He was traded to the Browns for draft compensation.
In 2020, Watson appeared in all 16 games for the Texans and completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
We’ll have more on the Browns and Watson as the news is available.