Gonna be a few weeks, most likely.
Another phase in the NFL’s disciplinary process against former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is complete, and another wait begins.
Watson’s hearing before former U.S. District judge Sue L. Robinson concluded on Thursday after three days.
Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, will determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline. She asked for post-hearing briefs from both Watson’s representatives and the NFL, and a final decision could take weeks.
Watson has been accused in civil lawsuits by 24 women of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. He has reached a settlement in 20 of the cases.
The NFL has been pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least a year, and Watson’s team has argued there is no basis for punishment, two people with knowledge of the proceedings said to the Associated Press. ESPN reported that both sides engaged in attempts to reach a settlement while the hearing was still happening, but remain unable to agree.
A person familiar with the case told the Associated Press the league believes it presented evidence to warrant keeping Watson off the field this season. The person said the league’s investigation determined Watson committed multiple violations of the personal conduct policy and he would be required to undergo counseling before returning.
A person familiar with Watson’s defense told the Associated Press they expect a suspension. Asked what would be acceptable, the person said: “our goal is to get him back on the field this year.”
See here and here for some background. In previous stories, I’ve seen mention of the league wanting to have this process finished by the time players start reporting to training camps, which I believe would be July 27 for the Cleveland Browns. That sounds like a reasonable estimate for when we will know the decision.