While initial reports about the NFL’s punishment of Deshaun Watson were said to be for at least one year, if not longer, it now sounds like the league might be okay with a decision that includes much less.
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported Tuesday that he’s being told that while the league is insisting on a long suspension, they’re anxious enough to avoid the appeals process that they would accept a smaller suspension.
More: I'm also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process – source said "a terrible situation for everyone involved" – so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson's ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games.
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 28, 2022
“I’m told the NFL insisted on an indefinite suspension while Deshaun Watson’s legal team argued there’s no basis for that punishment,” wrote Maaddi. “The hearing will continue on Wednesday in Delaware and Watson is expected to be present for the duration.
“I’m also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process — source said ‘a terrible situation for everyone involved’ — so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson’s ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games.”
Some have wondered if this is what the league had in mind when it initially said that it wanted an indefinite suspension. Knowing that these things are always a negotiation, if they leaked that they were throwing the book at Watson, they could save face with a lesser suspension under the guise that they wanted more but it was out of their hands.
It’s also possible that the opposite could be true and the league could be sending the signal that six-to-eight games are too few compared to what they have in mind, potentially pushing Judge Robinson to up her recommendation. Or they could be trying to influence her to make that decision so that they can appeal it to get more games tacked on.
Of course, this is also based on the word of a leak to the AP, so who knows which side they’re on and what they’re hoping to accomplish by throwing this out there. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the league won’t pursue what it ultimately wants even if the judge doesn’t make a ruling they agree with.
Case in point, Maadi shared that the league is still insisting on an indefinite suspension in the hearings on Wednesday.
NFL still insisting on indefinite suspension today. pic.twitter.com/6JWV4eR9qb
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 29, 2022