Deshaun Watson’s intention to sue may remain unclear;  2-8 games can be the final penalty

Deshaun Watson’s intention to sue may remain unclear; 2-8 games can be the final penalty

Deshaun Watson's Press Conference

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On Monday, the big news in the Deshaun Watson case came from Charles Robinson’s report that the NFL Players Association and Watson are prepared to file a federal lawsuit attacking a season-long suspension, if that is the end result of the NFL’s internal process. The feeling in the Watson camp and the union, however, is that it is not going to happen.

As a source who has reviewed the material submitted last week by the parties to Judge Sue L. Robinson told PFT on Monday, the final sentence will most likely not be one year. The expected range is two to eight games.

Whether the league would appeal such a result, and whether Commissioner Roger Goodell or his nominee would impose a dramatically longer ban remains to be seen.

The case presented by the NFL eventually focused on four alleged violations; the fifth (based on media reports and not an interview of the prosecutor) is not part of the decision-making process. Judge Robinson will, after assessing the evidence presented to her and making specific factual findings, apply the terms of the Personal Conduct Guidelines to the facts and decide whether and to what extent Watson should be punished.

One of the strongest arguments on Watson’s behalf comes from the clear language of the policy: “Ownership and club or league leadership have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more substantial discipline.”

During the hearing, the NFLPA focused on owners who were either not punished at all or whose punishment requires a player like Watson to receive a minor sanction. Since the hearing, the Texans have settled 30 claims against them specifically for their alleged role in Watson’s alleged sexual assault.

So what, if any, discipline will be imposed on the team’s security director? Brent Naccara is, given his title, a member of the “club management”. He reportedly responded to the news of a situation involving Watson by giving Watson an NDA to use in the future.

As explained on Monday, the league and team have not responded to inquiries about whether the NFL is investigating the Texans over a situation that resulted in 30 civil settlements. Watson and the NFLPA should, if they have not already done so, consider raising this point with Judge Robinson via a supplementary letter or letter, since the failure to consider (if that is what happens) any league action against Naccara or the Texans would give further evidence of a double standard between club management and players.

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