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Browns QB Deshaun Watson, NFLPA speak out ahead of decision expected Monday

Deshaun Watson
Posted at 8:32 PM, Jul 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 07:16:53-04

CLEVELAND — On Sunday evening, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and the NFL Players Association spoke out ahead of the expected decision regarding possible discipline for Watson.

The NFLPA put out a statement on Sunday night “in advance of Robinson’s decision”, stating that they would stand by the decision of the ruling.

Former U.S. District Court Judge Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer presiding over the investigation into Watson is expected to make a decision come Monday, confirmed to News 5.

Watson was investigated by the NFL and NFLPA's jointly appointed disciplinary officer to determine the potential suspension after 24 lawsuits were filed against him for alleged sexual assault, 20 of which have since been settled.

“Every player, owner, business partner, and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office,” the statement read. “ This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”

The statement brings a new tone of voice from the player’s association regarding Watson’s outcome, as they were expected to sue the league if the ruling was a full season.

Here is the NFLPA's statement in full:

In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding. First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge - appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL - held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially. Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.

Browns QB Deshaun Watson, NFLPA speak out ahead of decision expected Monday

Watson's is the first case to be heard by Robinson as part of the new league discipline policy agreed upon in the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2020. As per the CBA, violations of the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy are initially determined by a jointly appointed disciplinary officer after serving as the hearing officer.

The hearings began on June 28 and lasted three days before wrapping on June 30. The NFL was responsible for presenting evidence that Watson violated the Personal Conduct Policy, and, after doing so, both sides were given around two weeks to submit post-hearing briefs to Robinson, which the CBA maxes out at five pages, single-spaced. The CBA outlines three days as the deadline after the hearing to file the briefs but also allows the timelines to be extended by mutual agreement, which occurred in Watson's case, and the briefs were set to be filed by July 12.

While awaiting the decision, Watson has been practicing during training camp workouts in Berea. Regardless of the outcome, Watson will still be able to continue the work he's been doing with the Browns throughout training camp and into the preseason.

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