Watson to Cleveland

BigSoxFan

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I’d forgotten the Browns backloaded his contract so he wouldn’t lose too much money being suspended for a bit for sexually assaulting a couple dozen women.
Really is a shame that the Browns didn't trade for Tyreek so that I could consolidate all of my NFL player hatred.
 

djbayko

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So the arbiter only considered 4 cases which were investigated by the league. Well, that certainly helps put some context around the decision. I'm not saying that it justifies is, but it definitely makes it easier to argue that the case isn't unprecedented when you're not talking Cosby levels of assault.

Edit: However, reading through her rationale, I'm not even sure that would have made a difference. It seems a big hang up for her is players not having proper notice of escalated discipline for such behavior.
 
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Cotillion

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She apparently also took into consideration all of last year as being a "ban" on Watson even though he was never officially banned with the Texans and NFL playing the weird game where he didn't play.

View: https://twitter.com/WALLACHLEGAL/status/1554184992703627267?s=20&t=rQ88Ju0tV9qDums4WxQODw


Last season's missed games were factored in. Vindicated. Sue Robinson: "Although Mr. Watson did not play during the 2021 season, the Commissioner declined to put him on administrative leave under which any games missed would be credited against any suspension later imposed."
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I agree 6 is not sufficient (and I've expressed my feelings on Watson previously) but this is coming from a neutral arbitrator and former federal judge - this isn't the NFL coming up with this number. Roger can now impose whatever he wants on appeal if the NFL decides to appeal now that Judge Robinson found a violation.
This is exactly what the NFL wants people to think. "We passed this off to a completely independent third party! Our hands are clean!"

The arbitrator is tied to the rules outlined in the suspension case only. They can only judge based on the rules and history in front of them. Two months ago when people were predicting a full season suspension, I said 8 games. Only Big Ben and Elliot had suspensions longer than a few games (six) with no criminal charges filed. That was the precedent, and that's what the arbitrator can rule on. Previous infraction penalties and what is fair based on that history.

That media outlets citing Ben and Elliot as examples today is exactly what the league wanted. As if they can't create punishments however long they want - which us Patriots fans learned the hard way. The punishment rarely fits the crime in the NFL. Because that's not why they're punishing the players.

That this dog and pony show has convinced people "its fair because it was an indepedent arbitrator" makes me even more confident Goodell stamps 2 games onto this. "We had an independent ruling AND we still added games to the suspension!" This whole thing was obvious the second Watson was traded.

I just have a nagging suspicion that the league let the Browns know prior to a trade what a punishment would look like for Watson. I have such a hard time imagining any team - even the Browns - are committing 5 years and a quarter of a billion to Watson without having some kind of idea what the league was going to do.

The league gives him 8 games, the Browns know that trading and signing a franchise QB for 5 years is worth the 8 games, and everyone wins. Texans get a boatload of picks, league gets another franchise QB to sell tickets, Browns get a franchise QB.

The only losers are the women who were raped.
My recollection is that Big Ben and Elliot (6 games each) are the only two players to be suspended without criminal charges relating to the personal conduct policy. Winston, Hunt, Ward, and a few others were suspended without convictions, but the charges were created and then dropped.

Suspending Watson for a full year despite a grand jury declining to indict would be 3x longer than any "comparable" cases, and would be another lengthy legal battle (that the NFL would win) that the league has no interest in.

If he gets a full season, I'd be shocked. Barring any further changes, I'm still guessing 8 games. Gives them the appearance of a hard line - "longest suspension without a criminal indictment!" - and everyone goes on their merry way.

Again. Unless you were fucking raped.
But in the eyes of the legal system, Watson has done nothing illegal. At least not worth indicating him for. The NFL won't care if it's one woman or 100. They can look at him as innocent and proceed accordingly.

With no smoking gun or criminal charges, I see no reason why the league would make a moral stand now. Yeah, Kareem Hunt was one incident, but he was also undeniably guilty based on the video we all saw of him stomping on a woman's head. There's a non-zero chance that Tyreek Hill ends up killing his fucking wife or kid, and the league couldn't give a shit.

Watson lines their wallets significantly more than either of them.
The league doesn't feel any responsibility when it's players step out of line. And maybe they shouldnt. We have a criminal justice system in place to punish individuals. But how this played out?

Disgusting? Yes. Embarrassing? Yes. Surprised? Unequivocally not.
 
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jezza1918

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If he gets within the same vicinity as the amount of games Brady got for delflategate I have a feeling that will be the last straw for me and Ill be breaking up with the NFL.
6 is the same vicinity as 4. Im disgusted. Outside of one text chat with friends from out of state and a text chat with younger cousins, both of which are pretty Patriots-centric, it would be easy for me to tear away. And yes, I kind of realize how absurd that sounds, but especially with my younger cousins it's a pretty great way to stay connected.
Disgusting? Yes. Embarrassing? Yes. Surprised? Unequivocally not.
This sums it up exceptionally well.
 

djbayko

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Is it just me or does use of the word "triggered" there come off as incredibly condescending? Like a MAGA complaining about safe spaces. Maybe instead of triggered you should use the word "assaulted". There were many people assaulted.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Is it just me or does use of the word "triggered" there come off as incredibly condescending? Like a MAGA complaining about safe spaces. Maybe instead of triggered you should use the word "assaulted". There were many people assaulted.
It is fucked that that term got through the layers of PR review one would expect that statement to have gone through.

But who knows if it did? And this is the NFL, after all.
 

johnmd20

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Letting triggered get in there is truly terrible.

This entire Browns situation absolutely sucks. They could not have handled Baker or this Watson debacle any worse. Clown show, bro.
 

JM3

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It's the exact nothing statement you'd expect from the Browns, but using "triggered" instead of "upset" or any of like 50 other words is pretty yikes.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Jesus Christ. I’ve always rooted for the Browns due to their long suffering fans and all, but this franchise can fuck right off.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Also what is Watson remorseful for? And what work does he have to do if he’s done nothing wrong? This whole situation is absolutely stomach turning.
 

Marciano490

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BTW did Judge Robinson coin a new term in “non-violent sexual assault”?
Rape used to require a separate force element in many jurisdictions. If a survivor “froze” or didn’t fight back or the rapist didn’t need to use physical force to carry out the rape, there’d often be non-guilty verdicts or charges not even brought. Eventually, judges and legislators mostly determined that the touching or penetration in and of itself could satisfy the “force” requirement. So, maybe this is some vestigial bullshit like when Trump’s lawyer hand waived his alleged rape of Ivana by saying you can’t rape your wife, which was the law through most of Anglo-American jurisprudence.
 

Reverend

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I, for one, would prefer that Watson not continue the work of showing us who he is off the field.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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It was mentioned up thread. Let's not turn this into "woe is Patriots." It'll always be a joke, but it'll never be funny.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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For those of us who didn't read the decision, Watson's "towel trick" factored into the decision according to this article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/browns/2022/08/02/deshaun-watson-towel-trick-key-evidence-nfl-suspension/10205405002/

“Watson reached out to women whose professional qualifications were unknown and unimportant to him,” Robinson stated in her ruling. “He insisted on using a towel, increasing the probability of exposure. He insisted on having the therapists focus on areas of his body that not uncommonly triggered erections. And he engaged in this pattern of conduct multiple times.
"I find this sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the NFL’s contention not only that contact occurred, but that Mr. Watson was aware that contact probably would occur, and that Mr. Watson had a sexual purpose – not just a therapeutic purpose – in making these arrangements with these particular therapists.”
* * * *
The towel evidence helped show his intent and purpose, according to her ruling, which also found that Watson knew such sexualized contact with these women was unwanted by them. Robinson noted Watson’s intent in these encounters “must be inferred from circumstantial evidence in the absence of an admission.”
“There is no dispute Mr. Watson preferred a towel to the traditionally used sheet for draping, and there should be no dispute that a medium or small-sized towel will more likely slip off a body than a sheet, leaving a client exposed,” wrote Robinson, who was jointly appointed to her position by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Robinson ruled that the “totality of the evidence,” including his use of towels and his focus points for the massages, lends support to her conclusion that it is more probable than not that Watson did have erections and that his erect penis made contact with the therapists, as they claimed.

Isn't there an easier way to meet women for Star NFL QBs?
 

Ralphwiggum

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Not if the whole point is to coerce them into doing something they don’t want to.
Exactly. I've mentioned it in this thread, not only are there easier ways to meet women, if what you want is a massage therapist who is going to give you an extra special ending, there are easy ways of finding literally hundreds of women who are willing to do that as well. The whole point for sexual predators like Watson is getting someone to do something they aren't willing to do. It's fucking gross.
 

Van Everyman

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Exactly. I've mentioned it in this thread, not only are there easier ways to meet women, if what you want is a massage therapist who is going to give you an extra special ending, there are easy ways of finding literally hundreds of women who are willing to do that as well. The whole point for sexual predators like Watson is getting someone to do something they aren't willing to do. It's fucking gross.
For better or for worse the bolded is what Bob Kraft was accused of doing. While there are a lot of complications with trafficking and whatnot to that, what Watson is accused of is quite different.
 

johnmd20

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This new policy where Goodell doesn't want to pass the final judgement, unless he wants to say "psych" and pass the final judgement, is really something else.
 

radsoxfan

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Feels like something is going to get tacked on here given the public response to 6 games.

10-12 game range in the end maybe?
 

Marciano490

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This new policy where Goodell doesn't want to pass the final judgement, unless he wants to say "psych" and pass the final judgement, is really something else.
Even Kafka thinks the NFL’s system is a little wacky. It’s a great flex for Goodell though - here’s your due process unless I have a different opinion, then I’ll just descend off my throne and do whatever I want.
 

Jungleland

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As dumb as the system is, I think this situation actually seems to be playing out as a point in its favor. If Goodell gets it right, it essentially plays out like this, no? Independent investigation/ruling finds Watson's behavior warrants suspension and assigns a hideously too low 6 games based on precedent of how similar examples have been dealt with by the NFL in the past. Goodell gets to say some combination of those previous situations were handled incorrectly/times are different now/this behavior is worse and ultimately has final say in setting a new precedent for how serious the punishment will be.

The overall system seems convoluted and cynically speaking designed to protect Goodell from criticism. But in a world where the NFLPA exists, I can buy the independent arbiter as a necessary step in the middle, and if the price of course correcting is that Goodell gets to look like the good guy, so be it imo.
 

Cellar-Door

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Feels like something is going to get tacked on here given the public response to 6 games.

10-12 game range in the end maybe?
The two settlement offers from the NFL were:
1. A year, then has to apply for reinstatement (so like the drug suspensions)
2. 12 games and a significant fine ($8M I think?)
 

SoxinSeattle

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Rumor (ESPN) is the NFL didn't think six games was even close. If Goodell suspends him for two years or more I will hate him one less percentage point.
 

EvilEmpire

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As dumb as the system is, I think this situation actually seems to be playing out as a point in its favor. If Goodell gets it right, it essentially plays out like this, no? Independent investigation/ruling finds Watson's behavior warrants suspension and assigns a hideously too low 6 games based on precedent of how similar examples have been dealt with by the NFL in the past. Goodell gets to say some combination of those previous situations were handled incorrectly/times are different now/this behavior is worse and ultimately has final say in setting a new precedent for how serious the punishment will be.

The overall system seems convoluted and cynically speaking designed to protect Goodell from criticism. But in a world where the NFLPA exists, I can buy the independent arbiter as a necessary step in the middle, and if the price of course correcting is that Goodell gets to look like the good guy, so be it imo.
This sounds plausible.

The process is a joke, but I hope the NFL takes full advantage of it to levy as big a suspension as possible. I'm ok with bad process/less bad outcome in this case.
 

cutman1000

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Why does last year not count as part of the suspension? Did he get paid to sit out? The guy is a scumbag and I don’t care if he ever plays again, but it seems disingenuous to say it’s only a 6 game suspension when he already sat out a whole season.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I won’t be upset if he/his designee tosses a year plus at Watson. Honestly, and putting aside whether it’s a good idea that Goodell have any authority over player discipline, the notion that Watson’s conduct doesn’t merit a longer suspension due to a purported lack of notice that sexual assault was bad and lack of precedent for similar violations is stupid.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Why does last year not count as part of the suspension? Did he get paid to sit out? The guy is a scumbag and I don’t care if he ever plays again, but it seems disingenuous to say it’s only a 6 game suspension when he already sat out a whole season.
He was inactive, but not suspended, for every game, so he got his paychecks. I don’t think they can clawback salary under the CBA/effectively retroactively suspend a player.
 

MuzzyField

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Why does last year not count as part of the suspension? Did he get paid to sit out? The guy is a scumbag and I don’t care if he ever plays again, but it seems disingenuous to say it’s only a 6 game suspension when he already sat out a whole season.
Yes, as MM posted, the Texans paid him and it was their choice to keep him inactive as part of their Tank-a-thon.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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And the NFLPA will go right to federal court and get an injunction as they should.
I wonder if the NFL wants to use this as a test case.

I wouldn't so sure of the injunction. As I mentioned before, the parties bargained for this system and while I don't do a ton of labor law, it is my understanding that courts generally defer to collectively bargained agreements.
 

jsinger121

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I wonder if the NFL wants to use this as a test case.

I wouldn't so sure of the injunction. As I mentioned before, the parties bargained for this system and while I don't do a ton of labor law, it is my understanding that courts generally defer to collectively bargained agreements.
To me an indefinite suspension is ridiculous especially with the lack of criminal charges and basically all these civil lawsuits settled. What’s the point of an independent arbiter if the NFL is just gonna say fuck you we don’t like that penalty and will just do our own. It’s a bullshit system and the NFLPA needs to get this power away from the commissioner.
 

scott bankheadcase

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To me an indefinite suspension is ridiculous especially with the lack of criminal charges and basically all these civil lawsuits settled. What’s the point of an independent arbiter if the NFL is just gonna say fuck you we don’t like that penalty and will just do our own. It’s a bullshit system and the NFLPA needs to get this power away from the commissioner.
They probably shouldn’t have negotiated and signed that CBA then…..
 

Mystic Merlin

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To me an indefinite suspension is ridiculous especially with the lack of criminal charges and basically all these civil lawsuits settled. What’s the point of an independent arbiter if the NFL is just gonna say fuck you we don’t like that penalty and will just do our own. It’s a bullshit system and the NFLPA needs to get this power away from the commissioner.
Unfortunately for the NFLPA, these aren’t valid legal arguments. I mean, we just went through this with the Second Circuit’s ruling in Brady’s case.

If it came to it, a federal court would likely tell the NFLPA to pound sand/negotiate a more favorable suspension structure next time. And the NFL may not hate having that fight given the facts here.