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Day one of Deshaun Watson’s hearing in front of independent arbitrator Judge Sue Robinson has ended. The NFL and NFLPA once again square off with the fate of a player accused of violating the league’s policies awaits the results.
Unlike in any previous case, the system setup is different. No longer is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the judge jury and executioner of discipline. After the new CBA, his role is now as the appeals judge. Robinson will make her ruling and, unless she finds Watson to not be in violation, hand down discipline.
Either the NFL or NFLPA can then appeal Robinson’s ruling to Goodell.
With the NFL reportedly seeking at least a year suspension, it seems likely that the process could go through all the steps. Except, according to a report from the Associated Press, the NFL does not want to have Robinson’s first ruling go through the appeals process:
More: I'm also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process – source said "a terrible situation for everyone involved" – so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson's ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games.
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 28, 2022
While the NFL would prefer not to go through the appeals process, Watson’s side would not have the same motivation.
The first of what is likely to be many of reports coming out of the hearing process for Watson and the NFL will be something to watch when Robinson makes her ruling.