For good or bad, we are rounding a corner with the Deshaun Watson issues, at least when it comes to on the field. The Cleveland Browns made a massive trade and gave Watson a huge new contract despite over 20 serious allegations against him.
Despite two grand juries choosing not to press charges, Watson still had 24 civil lawsuits against him before settling with 20 of them last week.
Tuesday starts the hearing by the independent arbitrator where the NFL and NFLPA will have their time to share their evidence.
We have already had multiple leaks that the NFL wants Watson suspended for a considerable amount of time with a full season and indefinitely being thrown around as options. With Roger Goodell hearing any appeal if the arbitrator, Sue Robinson, finds the quarterback violated the personal conduct policy, it seems likely the NFL will get what they want.
If so, it is possible that Watson and the NFLPA will decide to take the route Tom Brady took after his “Deflategate” suspension.
The NFL’s website does a great job of breaking down the timeline of Brady’s suspension case. The quick important details include the following:
- May 6, 2015 – NFL’s investigation concludes
- May 11 – Brady suspended for four games
- May 14 – NFLPA appeals the suspension on behalf of Brady
- June 23 – Brady’s appeal meeting ends
- June 28 – Goodell upheld’s Brady’s suspension
- August 12 – Brady’s legal challenge begins
- September 3 – The first judge involved in the case nullifies the suspension, Brady is eligible to play in Week 1
- April 25, 2016 – After different rulings and appeals, the suspension is reinstated
- July 15, 2016 – Brady accepts the suspension and ends his legal objections
From the time that Brady was suspended originally to the finality was over a year. While the court ended up ruling that the CBA provides Goodell the authority to make the decision he made, it is still possible for Watson and the NFLPA to take legal action.
If Robinson or Goodell’s decision leads to a year or more suspension, it is possible that Watson’s situation could see a similar timeline as that of Brady’s. If everything went the same, Watson would be eligible to play in 2022 before a court rules, as they did with Brady, that the suspension is valid and the quarterback sits out 2023.
Still, a lot to be determined but looking back on the Brady case shows one possibility.