CLEVELAND — NFL Disciplinary Officer Sue L. Robinson has now heard three days of testimony in the case of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. The league and Watson have made their respective cases in front of her, and it's now at the point of decision time.
But what we're learning about what came out over these last three days is interesting.
As we've reported, the NFL based its case on the allegations of five of the 24 women who have sued Watson for alleged sexual misconduct. Where does it get interesting? Reportedly, the league found no evidence of violence, threat, force, or coercion by Watson in any of these cases.
That would seem to be very important. Some would seem to think that's the whole ball of wax.
Let's move on... The NFL also reinforced its desire to suspend Watson indefinitely, and admitted this is "unprecedented." Remember, this whole case is unprecedented. It's the first disciplinary hearing under this format constructed in the new collective bargaining agreement, with the former federal judge Robinson jointly hired by both the league and the union to act as somewhat of an independent arbitrator.
What about past instances of NFL owners facing their own allegations of sexual misconduct? The league admitted a league security director investigated the case of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and no punishment was handed down.
The NFLPA will jump on this: Why no punishment for owners, and yet Watson could be banished for a year?
Briefs from both parties are due by July 11. Let's be clear: In the days leading up to that point, negotiations will continue between Watson and the league to settle the case. Speaking of settling, remember, Watson still needs to settle the remaining civil suits.
As you can see, there's work to be done before Deshaun Watson actually plays for the Cleveland Browns.