NFL appeals Cleveland Browns QB Watson’s six-game suspension
Published: Aug 04, 2022 06:25 PM
The National Football League (NFL). Photo: CFP

The National Football League (NFL). Photo: CFP

The National Football League on Wednesday appealed the six-game suspension given to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for violating the league's personal-conduct policy after it had previously said it wanted at least a year-long suspension.

On Monday, former US District Judge Sue L. Robinson said Watson had violated the league's policy after more than 20 women accused him of sexual misconduct and abuse, calling his behavior "egregious" and "predatory." 

Prior to the ruling, the league had sought an indefinite suspension of at least one year. 

Robinson had based the duration of six weeks on previous NFL suspensions.

"The NFL notified the NFLPA [The National Football League Players Association] that it will appeal Judge Robinson's disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon," a spokesperson for the NFL told Reuters in a statement. 

Under the appeal process, three outside experts will make recommendations to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee, and either Goodell or the designee will make the final decision on the length of the suspension, meaning it will likely increase.

The NFLPA may choose to challenge the appeal ruling in federal court, which could lead to a protracted legal battle. The NFLPA and Watson both have two days to respond to the appeal.

All but four of the 24 lawsuits that alleged sexual assault by Watson were settled in June after more than 20 women came forward in 2021.

A Texas grand jury previously declined to indict Watson.

In March, the 26-year-old Watson denied sexually assaulting or acting in an inappropriate manner toward any of the 22 women who had made complaints against him at the time. 

Watson, who did not play last season, joined the Browns from the Houston Texans in March, signing a five-year, $230 million contract.