On Monday, Watson was suspended with out pay for the primary six video games of this season for violating the NFL’s private conduct coverage in non-public conferences with therapeutic massage therapists whereas with the Houston Texans.
The NFL had requested Sue L. Robinson, the previous decide employed by the NFL and its gamers’ union to rule on Watson’s punishment, a suspension protecting the 17-game common season and the playoffs. No participant accused of nonviolent sexual misconduct, as Watson has been, has obtained a suspension of greater than six video games, Robinson mentioned in his 16-page ruling issued Monday.
“The NFL has notified the NFLPA that it’s going to attraction Decide Robinson’s disciplinary choice and filed its temporary this afternoon,” league officers mentioned Wednesday. “Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide who will hear the attraction.”
Watson has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The NFL Gamers Affiliation has already mentioned it might not attraction. The union declined to remark Wednesday.
CNN has reached out to the Browns for remark.
Watson’s accusers’ legal professional mentioned the NFL “would not care about girls’s rights” following the Cleveland Browns quarterback’s suspension over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Showing on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday, legal professional Tony Buzbee attacked the investigation, saying he hopes the NFL will attraction the case, however his shoppers are indignant and disillusioned a couple of lenient suspension imposed by a disciplinary officer.
“Do not anticipate the NFL to do something heroic right here,” Buzbee mentioned.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to cost Watson with any crime.
Twenty-four civil lawsuits have been filed in opposition to Watson, 23 have been settled confidentially.
Watson’s legal professional, Rusty Hardin, informed CNN he will not remark till the NFL decides whether or not to attraction.
Decide Robinson mentioned she would droop the 26-year-old for his “predatory conduct.”
“Though that is essentially the most vital punishment ever imposed on an NFL participant for allegations of nonviolent sexual conduct, Mr. Watson’s sample of conduct is extra egregious than any beforehand reviewed by the NFL,” Robinson wrote within the ruling. 16 pages.
However regardless of these findings, Decide Robinson criticized the NFL for asking for an unprecedented full-season suspension that may be for much longer than that of different gamers accused of nonviolent sexual conduct.
On Tuesday, Buzbee, the plaintiffs’ legal professional within the case in opposition to Watson, informed ESPN that he hopes the NFL strikes ahead with an attraction as a result of such a transfer can be welcomed by the accusers.
“I feel that may change the message and I feel it might be nicely obtained by the ladies that I symbolize,” she mentioned.
In his findings, Robinson wrote that his choice is restricted by the report offered to him by NFL investigators, who’re former prosecutors with many years of expertise investigating sexual assault circumstances. He famous that Watson “allegedly labored with greater than 60 therapeutic massage therapists” throughout the interval into consideration, and that the NFL “solely investigated the claims of the 24 therapists who sued Mr. Watson for damages.”
And of the 24, Robinson wrote that the NFL was solely capable of interview 12 alleged victims. They relied on the testimony of 4 of the 12 within the case offered to her for her overview.
Buzbee attacked the way in which the investigation was performed.
“None of my shoppers testified earlier than the federal decide. I feel it is a widespread false impression that 4 folks testified. That is not the case. None of them got here ahead. None of them had been requested to come back ahead and testify,” he mentioned. . he mentioned she. “Since these interviews, we’ve got had no contact with the NFL.
“They care concerning the backside line. They care about getting cash,” Buzbee mentioned on ESPN.
“They’re attempting to run this as a public relations disaster, however so far as attempting to do one thing to alleviate these girls specifically or girls’s rights, or coping with girls’s rights basically, that is not a part of their mission assertion they usually have made that very clear all through this course of.”
On Tuesday, the Cleveland Rape Disaster Heart mentioned it was “disillusioned” by the choice to droop Watson for simply six video games.
“The 6-game suspension given dangerously displays the failings in our prison justice methods and sends a critical message to our communities,” the group mentioned in an announcement to CNN on Tuesday. “Too typically, these in positions of energy and superstar who commit violence in opposition to others will not be held accountable for his or her actions.
“These ongoing headlines are a trigger for concern for a lot of. To survivors, we are saying we see you and we imagine you. Your story issues. The Cleveland Rape Disaster Heart is out there 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. week, 12 months a yr on-line or by calling/texting (216) 619-6192.”
The ruling comes after a number of girls who labored as therapeutic massage therapists filed lawsuits in opposition to Watson alleging sexual assault or misconduct throughout therapeutic massage periods. Final month, 30 girls who filed or meant to file claims in opposition to the Texans group for alleged misconduct by Watson reached a settlement, based on an announcement from Buzbee and Texans possession.
Watson, a three-time Professional Bowl participant, didn’t play final season whereas a member of the Houston Texans resulting from a commerce lawsuit in addition to investigations into these allegations.
Days later, the Browns traded three first-round picks for Watson after which signed him to a five-year, $230 million absolutely assured contract, essentially the most assured cash in NFL historical past.
Watson is not going to be paid throughout his suspension, however the Browns have structured his new contract in order that his base wage is $690,000 in his first yr after which $46 million for every of the following 4 years, based on the Browns monitoring web site. Spotrac salaries.