Sources: Watson’s NFL hearing to begin Tuesday

  • ESPN NFL Insider
  • Joined ESPN in 2009
  • Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books

Deshaun Watson’s hearing before the NFL and NFLPA’s jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson is scheduled to begin Tuesday, league sources told ESPN.

Robinson will listen as the NFL expects to push for a “lengthy” suspension for Watson while the NFLPA defends the Cleveland Browns quarterback who at one point faced 24 civil lawsuits that accused him of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions while with the Houston Texans. He has agreed to settle 20 of those suits.

The NFL is likely to base its proposed discipline on only a fraction of those women’s testimony, per one source, as the league was unable to speak with a portion of the women who interacted with Watson.

Robinson has no track record of ruling on any cases involving NFL players, but one source believed a decision from her could come within a week but also might take up until training camp. The NFL hopes for clarity on this case before training camp begins in late July.

Once Robinson rules, both sides have the option to appeal and commissioner Roger Goodell can either rule on the appeal or call on in an independent ruler on it.

Robinson, a former a member of Delaware’s district court for more than 25 years, now looms as one the most influential people of the upcoming 2022 NFL season. She primarily has worked on cases involving patent disputes — including the billion dollar stent litigation — but also numerous trademark infringement and antitrust disputes.

During her tenure, she served as the first woman Chief Judge for the District of Delaware, as well as being selected to serve on the Judicial Conference of the United States.

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