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Report: Deshaun Watson Suspension Decision Expected to Be Made by Arbiter on Monday

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

BEREA, OH - JULY 30: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during Cleveland Browns training camp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on July 30, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Getty Images

There will reportedly soon be a decision on a potential Deshaun Watson suspension.

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported that jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson is expected to inform both the NFL and the NFL Players Association of her decision regarding the Cleveland Browns quarterback on Monday. According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the ruling will be issued around 9 a.m. ET.

"Robinson has not indicated how she will rule on her first personal conduct policy case," Wilson wrote.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported "there's been a feeling in the Browns' building that it could be a suspension of 4-8 games."

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com noted both the league and the players' association can appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Robinson's ruling.

However, the NFLPA said in a statement Sunday night that it would not appeal Monday's decision:

NFLPA @NFLPA

Our joint statement with Deshaun Watson on the impending arbitration decision: <a href="https://t.co/9ObLnHiX6J">pic.twitter.com/9ObLnHiX6J</a>

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, the two sides continued to engage in settlement talks in recent days but never got close to an agreement:

Dan Graziano @DanGrazianoESPN

Per sources, Deshaun Watson and the NFL did engage in further settlement talks in recent days, but neither side felt they got close. The best Watson’s side indicated it would accept was 6-8 games. Best league indicated it was willing to do was 12 games + heavy fine $8 mil range).

Watson settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits he was facing after women accused him of sexual assault or misconduct during massage appointments. Cabot noted 30 women also settled with the Houston Texans after saying the quarterback's former team enabled his behavior with nondisclosure agreements and by providing venues for appointments.

Two grand juries previously declined to indict the Clemson product on criminal charges.

In June, Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported the league was aiming for a suspension of at least one year:

"The league's belief that it should institute what is essentially the strictest discipline it can assess is based on its investigation over the last year, the breadth of the allegations against him and some accusations that NFL officials have concluded are particularly damning. While the league's arguments include the broad array of the accusations against Watson—in addition to the 24 lawsuits, other women have accused him of wrongdoing without taking civil action against him—officials have zeroed in on five of the alleged victims whose cases they believe include the strongest evidence."

Yet Cabot pointed out the players' association fought for a shorter punishment in large part because owners around the league were not punished for direct or indirect involvement in sexual misconduct.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month that Watson and the NFLPA would file a lawsuit against the NFL in federal court if the quarterback is suspended for a full year.

Cleveland acquired Watson from the Texans via trade this offseason and rewarded him with a fully guaranteed, $230 million contract extension over five years.

The team also traded Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers this offseason, meaning Jacoby Brissett will likely be the starting quarterback during any suspension.

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