The NFL disciplinary hearing for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is scheduled for Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The hearing will feature disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson (jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA).
Schefter reports that the league is expected to push for a “lengthy” suspension for Watson.
And Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal has more specific details on the suspension length that the NFL seeks.
According to Beaton, the NFL “is pushing for an indefinite suspension that would last no shorter than one year for Watson.”
The NFL is pushing for an indefinite suspension that would last no shorter than one year for Watson, people familiar with the matter said. That would mean he would be out for one season, at least, before he could apply to be reinstated.
Beaton adds that “the league’s position has been that it will not accept any penalty shorter than a full season suspension,” and he points out that an indefinite suspension “would also give the NFL the flexibility to keep [Watson] out for longer based on a variety of factors, including whether more cases surface.” He writes that a resolution on Watson’s NFL future is expected to happen “the week of July 4, although there remains a chance of it coming sooner.”
Watson recently settled 20 of 24 civil lawsuits that accused him of sexual assault or misconduct — he has been accused by 26 women — during massage therapy sessions while he was with the Houston Texans. He has continued to deny the allegations.
Beaton reports that the league has “zeroed in on five of the alleged victims whose cases they believe include the strongest evidence.” Here’s more from Beaton:
The league will focus on those five cases as it argues for the significant ban. Those cases include contemporaneous corroboration, such as text messages, of the women’s accounts, two of the people said. League officials believe those allegations in particular are objectively provable and establish a clear and disturbing pattern of behavior from Watson.
Watson — who turns 27 in September — was traded by the Texans to the Browns in March, in exchange for significant draft capital. Additionally, he signed a fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million deal with the Browns.