Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension has been officially appealed by the NFL. The Cleveland Browns' new quarterback was expected to miss time this season but commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are seeking harsher punishment for Watson.
The NFL is hoping to secure an indefinite ban lasting at least the 2022 season and a fine against Watson for his pattern of sexual abuse that over 20 women have accused him of. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Goodell will appoint someone to hear the appeal. However, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Goodell will seek a designee that is not a member of the league office.
From Inside Training Camp: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s designee will hear the appeal of the Deshaun Watson suspension. pic.twitter.com/fuZiCJzSA5
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 4, 2022
Roger Goodell not hearing the appeal himself is not too surprising but looking to outsource the person hearing it is curious. A third party (former judge Sue Robinson) just ruled over Deshaun Watson's case and argued for the six-game suspension as well as a provision that would forbid the Browns QB from visiting massage therapists that are not on his team's staff for the remainder of his NFL career.
Robinson utilized the background of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement to dole out the penalty but the NFL is not satisfied. She concluded that Watson committed “non-violent sexual assault” and that a six-game suspension was how the league previously punished similar offenders. The league believes that the Deshaun Watson case is one that should not be decided using a precedent because of how severe the situation is.
Amid the legal battle involving the NFL and its players' union, Watson may be able to play in Week 1 of the 2022 season. The Browns are preparing for Watson to miss time this season but are undoubtedly committed to the 26-year-old's future. His $230 million contract is a clear sign that the organization is fully behind him and excited to build the stream around him.