The NFL is not accepting the ruling to suspend Deshaun Watson for six games.
Watson was handed the decision by retired federal judge Sue Robinson, after he was accused by over two dozen female massage therapists of sexual misconduct.
“Under the 2020 NFL-NFLPA CBA, the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed,” an NFL spokesperson said. “Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games.”
However, the NFL continued, “[t]he CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer.”
Here, the appeal would be heard by commissioner Roger Goodell, or a designee of his choosing. The NFL told the NFLPA that it will indeed exercise its right to appeal the punishment and that Goodell will choose the designee at a later date.
Per multiple reports on Wednesday, the NFL is believed to be pushing for an indefinite suspension that would be at least one year. Per ESPN, the league is also pushing for a monetary fine, notable due to the structure of his five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract with the Browns. Under Robinson’s ruling, Watson would only have lost about $345,000.
While Watson was never charged with a crime related to the allegations, he settled civil lawsuits with 23 of his 24 accusers, and the Houston Texans, who he played for at the time of the alleged incidents, settled lawsuits with 30 women.
It is unknown how long the appeals process will take at this time, or what suspension length the league would determine to be more appropriate.