CLEVELAND — The NFL and Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s legal team presented their arguments before a disciplinary officer for a second day Wednesday, with both sides holding firm as the hearing is scheduled to continue in Delaware on Thursday.
The league is insisting on an indefinite suspension and Watson’s side is arguing there’s no basis for a punishment that significant, two people in attendance told The Associated Press. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the hearing isn’t public.
Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, is tasked with determining whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.
If either the union or league appeals Robinson’s decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.
Watson agreed to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, but the league is seeking at least a one-year suspension, one of the people told The AP. Watson’s side expects a suspension but wants the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to play for the Cleveland Browns at some point this season, another person told the AP.
Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.
This is the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first woman Chief Judge for the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy.