Now that the NFL has appealed Deshaun Watson’s decision to the NFL, what happens next?
The personal conduct policy and the relevant provision of the collective agreement define the next steps.
Here is the relevant wording from the Personal Conduct Policy: “Such calls will be: (i) dealt with on an expedited basis; (ii) limited to reviewing the terms of the discipline imposed; and (iii) based on a review of the existing record without reference to evidence or testimony not previously considered. No additional evidence or testimony shall be presented or accepted by the Commissioner or his delegate. All factual findings and evidentiary determinations of the Disciplinary Officer will be binding on the parties on appeal, and the decision of the Commissioner or his delegate, who may cancel, reduce, modify or increase the disciplinary sanction previously imposed, will be final and binding for all. parties.”
Because there is no new evidence, there is no reason for a new hearing. Neither the Personal Conduct Policy nor the CBA provides for an appeal hearing. Instead, it’s just a matter of both parties submitting their paperwork to Commissioner Roger Goodell or whoever he designates to make the same decision he would make.
In this specific case, the factual findings and evidentiary determinations made by Judge Sue L. Robinson give the commissioner or his delegate all the ammunition necessary to replace his six-game suspension with something more. She found that Watson violated three different provisions of the policy with respect to four different people. Nothing about his decision to suspend Watson six games limits the ability of Goodell or his delegate to implement a much longer suspension.
This is the most important thing to remember. Judge Robinson determined the facts. And the facts she determined are exactly what the NFL wanted them to be. Although the NFL did not like his decision on the length of a suspension, the NFL has the ability under the policy to appeal the decision to the NFL and replace his six-game suspension. by everything the NFL would prefer it to be otherwise. .