NFL expected to appeal Deshaun Watson suspension

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson runs drills during the NFL football team's football training camp in Berea on Monday.Camp Watson 24
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson runs drills during the NFL football team's football training camp in Berea on Monday.Camp Watson 24 /

The NFL has until Thursday morning to appeal the suspension of Deshaun Watson and legal experts expect them to do so, while extending the punishment

On Monday morning, independent arbitrator Judge Sue L. Robinson handed down a six-game suspension to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Robinson essentially said Watson’s behavior was egregious but the league was trying to enforce punishments that didn’t fit their own policies.

Even before the ruling was announced, Watson and the NFLPA said they would abide by the ruling of the jointly agreed upon judge, and asked the league to do the same. So far, commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL have been silent, but that could change.

For some reason, the NFLPA agreed to this new form of league discipline but still allowed Goodell to have the final say. Since there was a punishment handed down, the NFL can now appeal the decision, then enact its own punishment.

And Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network says there’s an expectation that this will happen.

Not only does Wilson’s source think an appeal is coming, but they say there will be a hefty fine attached to an extended suspension.

"“One source expressed a strong belief that the NFL will bow to public pressure and that Goodell or an arbiter he appoints will augment the punishment imposed by Robinson, perhaps suspending Watson an additional four to six games and, possibly, a multi-million dollar fine.” — Wilson, Pro Football Network"

The four-to-six extra games wasn’t the only prediction. There are those who believe Goodell will really drop the hammer on Watson and ban him for an entire season.

Should the NFL appeal the Deshaun Watson suspension?

The question as to whether or not the NFL should use its power to appeal is a tough one to answer. On one hand, they’re facing backlash for being too soft on Watson — even though it wasn’t their decision. But since they can alter the suspension, a vote of no appeal could be seen by some as agreeing to the punishment.

However, the NFLPA has made it clear they would take legal action against the league should they go the full-year route — attacking the fact that team owners such as Robert Kraft, Dan Snyder, and Jerry Jones had their misdeeds ignored by the league despite their own admission that owners should be held to a higher standard.

For the league, that remains the one issue that could stop them from appealing. While they surely feel strongly that Watson should be suspended for at least one year, they might not be ready to face questions about how they treated owners versus how they treat players.

They also have to decide if they want to exercise their ultimate power on the very first disciplinary case under their new litigation process which was collectively bargained.

There are a lot of questions for them to sort out before Thursday at 9 a.m., but as of now, there’s a belief they’re leaning toward the appeal.

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