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Deshaun Watson suspension hearing: Here’s why a decision reportedly could still be weeks away

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After three days, Deshaun Watson’s hearing in front of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson has officially concluded, as confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. From here on out, the Browns quarterback’s fate is in the hands of Robinson, who will now digest what was presented to her over the course of this three-day hearing and determine a ruling. As for the timetable for a decision on the matter, it appears like we still may be a ways off. 

According to a report from ESPN, Robinson asked both sides for post-hearing briefs, which will be due the week of July 11. That would indicate that we may not hear a verdict until then and diminishes the likelihood of a Fourth of July news dump. The report also cited a source that said Robinson is expected “to take her time.” 

Watson is facing possible punishment after the quarterback was hit with a total of 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits alleging illicit behavior during massage sessions. That number has since shrunk to four after Watson reached a confidential settlement with 20 of the women

Robinson will determine if Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy and, if so, will likely hand down a suspension. Throughout this hearing, the NFL has pushed for an indefinite suspension of at least one full season. That said, Robinson will be free to deliver whatever punishment she sees fit. 

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Meanwhile, the NFLPA has reportedly argued that Watson should receive no punishment based on Patriots owner Robert Kraft not being suspended for his alleged incident at a massage parlor along with Jerry Jones not seeing any punishment after the Cowboys were involved in a voyeurism scandal that resulted in Dallas’ PR guy unexpectedly retiring. 

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If Robinson does punish Watson, it’ll almost certainly be appealed by the quarterback’s camp. Under that scenario, however, commissioner Roger Goodell — or someone he appoints — would oversee the appeal and make a ruling. On the flip side, if Robinson rules that Watson did not violate the CBA, the NFL is not allowed to appeal. 

For a more detailed look at the possible outcomes, you can check out John Breech’s explainer here


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