The NFL announced on Wednesday that it will appeal the six-game suspension given to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. The league is seeking an indefinite suspension that would last a minimum of one year. According to a statement from the league, commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.
The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal the disciplinary decision made by Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. On Monday, Robinson issued the multi-game ban, which was linked to sexual misconduct allegations made against the Cleveland Browns quarterback. The league and players union, which appointed Robinson to settle the disciplinary dispute, had until Thursday to appeal the ruling.
In its statement on Wednesday, the NFL cited its 2020 collective bargaining agreement, which does not allow Robinson’s “factual findings” to be appealed, but does allow the discipline imposed to be appealed. The league said: “The NFL notified the NFLPA [players union] 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.”
Watson has faced accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct from more than two dozen women through civil lawsuits, based on alleged encounters occurring between March 2020 and March 2021, when Watson was the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans. Watson has denied criminal wrongdoing and two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him earlier this year, and Watson settled 20 of the lawsuits he faced in June.
Watson did not play at all last season for the Texans amid the allegations, and was traded to the Browns in March after signing a five-year, $230 million contract.
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