Could the NFL ban Deshaun Watson for another season?

The NFL could still suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for a full season if it thinks it can last.

An independent disciplinary officer, Judge Sue Robinson, found that while Watson had violated the league’s personal conduct policy enough to a Six-game banthere was no evidence to justify an indefinite leave of absence.

And that despite 25 allegations of sexual misconduct against Watson. The league has suspended players more games for (arguably) less, with DeAndre Hopkins (PEDs, six games) and Calvin Ridley (gambling, all season) being the latest examples. One would hope that there would be serious consequences for sexual misconduct towards women, but this ruling does not support that notion.

Watson’s camp and the NFLPA will accept this six-game suspension unchanged should the league office back down. However, Roger Goodell has three days to accept the verdict and still retains full authority over what happens next.

Why is Deshaun Watson suspended?

Watson was banned for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, in which 25 women accused him of sexual misconduct. The Cleveland Browns quarterback has settled all but one of the lawsuits against him.

While the NFL initially stated that they would not accept anything less than a full-season suspension for Watson, they are now being cornered. The hiring of an independent referee should put all questions out of the way but instead it has made Goodell’s job that much more difficult as only he takes Watson off the field again.

Not making a statement could leave a significant portion of the league’s fan base — namely women. In many ways, the NFL has struggled to recover from previous incidents (namely: Ray Rice and Ben Roethlisberger). Could the NFL ban Deshaun Watson for another season?

John Verrall

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