CLEVELAND — The NFL has decided to appeal Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension, according to multiple media reports.
Independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge, had ruled Watson's behavior was "egregious" and that the evidence more than likely supported claims he committed what constituted as sexual assault. However, based on Watson's action's being defined as "non-violent" and the league's own record of suspensions for such cases, she felt six games was the largest penalty she could impose.
WATSON SUSPENSION: See Judge Sue L. Robinson's full ruling
But after apparently seeking a suspension of at least a year for Watson, the NFL has decided to challenge her ruling, and the process will no doubt confuse many. Commissioner Roger Goodell (hardly an independent party) will be the one to hear the appeal, or he will appoint someone to do so.
The league had three days to decide whether or not it would seek to change Robinson's punishment, and once news of the move broke Wednesday, reaction across social media was expectedly swift. From the start, this case has had many moving parts to it, and some feel conflicted between wanting Watson to get a longer suspension and wondering if what the NFL is doing is right.
Here's what media members both in Cleveland and nationally are saying:
And here's some of the fan reaction so far: