Deshaun Watson’s hearing continues Wednesday

Deshaun Watson’s hearing will continue Wednesday after his legal team and the NFL presented their arguments to a retired judge in Delaware on the opening day, a person who attended The Associated Press said.

Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, appointed jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association, is holding a hearing to determine whether Watson violated NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has agreed to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, but still faces a major sanction. A person familiar with the NFL’s position told the AP last week that the league is seeking an extended suspension for Watson based on the number of sexual assault allegations and conversations with the 11 women who were available for interviews. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the hearing were not publicly disclosed.


Watson’s side, led by renowned lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, argues that there is no basis for a long suspension. Two Texas grand jurors have refused to charge Watson with criminal charges stemming from the charges. Watson denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.

The NFL has punished several players for violating the league’s personal conduct policy without criminal charges. In 2010, Ben Roethlisberger received a six-match suspension after being accused of sexual assault by two women. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later reduced the suspension to four games. Dallas Cowboys runner-up Ezekiel Elliott won six games in 2017 over domestic violence incidents.

On Monday, a woman who previously sued Watson filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans, alleging that her former team provided her with resources to allow her actions and “turned a blind eye” to her behavior.


This is the first hearing of Robinson, who was the first female chief justice of the Delaware district. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of personal conduct policy. Still, Goodell has considerable power. If the union or league appeals the decision of Robinson, Goodell or his designee “shall issue a written decision that shall constitute a full, final, and complete resolution of the dispute,” under the terms of Article 46 of the Collective Agreement.

That means Goodell could finally overturn Robinson’s decision and give Watson a year or even an indefinite suspension due to the potential for more cases.

In April, Major League Baseball suspended pitcher Trevor Bauer for two full seasons following the league’s investigation into allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault against him. That suspension did not include the 99 regular-season games the Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander lost after being sacked on July 2, 2021.


Asked whether the MLB’s handling of Bauer’s case was discussed, a league official told the AP that it is difficult to compare the two, but stressed that the allegations against Watson are serious enough to justify an “unprecedented punishment.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Robinson did not hear the case.

It’s not known how long it will take Robinson to make a decision, but the Cleveland Browns should know Watson’s availability before training camp. NFL discipline usually begins the week before the first game of the regular season, so Watson would be eligible for camp unless a possible penalty stipulates otherwise.

The Browns traded a number of draft picks to acquire Watson and gave him a five-year, $ 230 million guaranteed contract in March.


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Deshaun Watson’s hearing continues Wednesday

Source link Deshaun Watson’s hearing continues Wednesday

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