Report: NFL Filing Appeal On Deshaun Watson’s Six-Game Suspension

Two days after independent arbitrator Judge Sue L. Robinson handed down a six-game suspension for new Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the NFL filed an official appeal Wednesday, according to multiple reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.

Prior to filing the appeal, the NFL had three days, per the collective bargaining agreement, to file an appeal or the suspension would be accepted and both parties would move forward. Now, the NFL Players’ Association will have two days to respond to the appeal, while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine whether he himself, or another independent arbitrator will hear the appeal.

Prior to the ruling from Robinson on Monday, the NFL made a push for a full year’s suspension for Watson, who has been accused of sexual assault by 24 women, of which he’s settled 23 cases to date. Watson has denied all allegations. Cleveland traded for him earlier in the offseason while giving him a fully-guaranteed $230 million deal.

Prior to the NFL’s appeal, Watson was slated to miss the first six games of the 2022 season, which included matchups with the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots, before potentially returning Oct. 23 for an AFC North matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, with an appeal in place and the league clearly pushing for a lengthier suspension, it raises the question of if Watson will be available for Cleveland’s Week 18 matchup with the Steelers to close the 2022 season, or if an injunction from the NFLPA’s perspective will be filed, allowing Watson to play right away during the appeals process.

The NFLPA previously stated that they would not appeal Robinson’s ruling, and asked the NFL to do the same.

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