Report: Deshaun Watson Doesn't See Indefinite NFL Suspension as Reasonable Settlement

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2022

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass during an NFL football practice at FirstEnergy Stadium, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Cleveland Browns star Deshaun Watson isn't yet willing to reach a settlement with the NFL that would result in an indefinite suspension, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.

Watson has yet to receive punishment from the NFL following its investigation into numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Graziano reported Wednesday on Keyshawn, JWill & Max the league is pursuing an indefinite suspension (discussion begins at the 16:11 mark).

During a disciplinary hearing held June 28-30, the NFL attempted to meet Watson in the middle and proposed an indefinite suspension that would allow him to apply for reinstatement after 12 games, per Graziano.

However, the three-time Pro Bowler is "still not interested in signing up for that indefinite suspension."

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Watson's representatives are hopeful disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson will rule against any suspension. Florio also cited sources who said an indefinite suspension of at least 12 games "would not be a serious offer."

Graziano reported the NFL wants the suspension to be indefinite to "guard against the possibility of more information [coming] out in the future."

In May, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated the league's investigation into allegations made in 24 lawsuits filed by women who said Watson hired them to provide massage therapy was approaching an end. Plaintiffs' attorney Tony Buzbee said June 13 two more women would potentially come forward to pursue civil action against Watson.

Buzbee confirmed on June 21 that 20 of the civil suits against Watson have been settled. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy responded to the development by saying it "has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process."

When it comes to a suspension for Watson, Goodell cannot unilaterally issue a ban. Robinson, a disciplinary officer who's jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association, oversees the case and makes a ruling.

The commissioner can exercise some authority over the length of a suspension if the disciplinary officer deems one to be worthy. The officer's verdict becomes final if he or she doesn't believe a suspension is warranted.