The first day of Deshaun Watson’s hearing before independent arbitrator Judge Sue Robinson is over. The NFL and the NFL once again competed with the fate of a player accused of violating league policies pending results.
Unlike any previous case, the system setup is different. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is no longer the jury and enforcer of discipline. Following the new Canadian Arbitration Act, it is now his turn to be an appellate judge. Robinson will issue her judgment, and unless she finds that Watson is not in violation, direct discipline.
Either the NFL or the NFLPA can appeal Robinson’s ruling to Goodell.
With the NFL reportedly seeking suspension for at least a year, it seems likely that the process can go through all the steps. Except, according to a report from The Associated Press, the NFL does not want Robinson’s first ruling to go through the appeal process:
MORE: She also told the NFL, despite insisting on an indefinite suspension, that it wants to avoid the appeal process – a source said “a terrible situation for everyone involved” – so the league will likely stick to Sue Robinson’s ruling if it returns with 6-8 Toys.
Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) June 28, 2022
While the NFL would prefer not to go through the appeal process, Watson’s side would not have the same incentive.
The first of several likely reports from the Watson and NFL hearing will be something to watch as Robinson makes her verdict.