On Tuesday, the hearing on possible discipline for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will begin. It is still possible, in theory, to settle before proceedings begin.
For that to happen, the NFL would have to significantly change its current position.
Andrew Peyton from Wall Street Magazinewho reported last night that the league will push for an indefinite suspension that will last at least one year, makes clear that the NFL will not accept a final suspension. Less than one seasonAt least.
This can change once the parties begin to present evidence and arguments, and most importantly, when Judge Sue L. Robinson begins making observations and/or decisions that may reveal her views regarding the case. The most significant wrinkle is likely to be whether it allows Watson and the NFL Players Association to pursue the idea that discipline for any player should be commensurate with the discipline imposed on owners who potentially violated the personal conduct policy.
If you order the NFL to turn over all evidence regarding the leaders’ investigation and sanction owner Daniel Snyder to the NFLPA, it could put pressure on the league. If the NFL orders evidence as to whether Patriots owner Robert Kraft should be investigated or disciplined in connection with his arrest (charges have been dropped), it could put pressure on the league. If you ask the NFL to provide information regarding the failure to investigate the Cowboys’ snooping scandal, it could put pressure on the league. Simply put, the league could cut a deal with Watson to avoid having to reveal information he’d rather hide regarding Snyder, Kraft and Jones.
If Judge Robinson cuts that defense, take advantage of the NFL. She can, at this point, dig in her heels. Especially since the NFL holds the ultimate trump card. If any discipline at all is enforced by Judge Robinson, the university can appeal the case. Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee shall have full and final jurisdiction over the appeal.
Thus, whatever Judge Robinson does, the end result could be exactly what the NFL is currently suggesting. The only way for Watson to avoid this outcome is for Judge Robinson to not impose any discipline whatsoever.