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NFL

Deshaun Watson’s NFL disciplinary hearing: how long can he be suspended for?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is about to face an NFL hearing on charges of sexual misconduct and abuse and may be dealt a lengthy suspension.

Update:
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is about to face an NFL hearing on charges of sexual misconduct and abuse and may be dealt a lengthy suspension.
NICK CAMMETTAFP

The NFL is set to begin its disciplinary hearing on Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been embroiled in lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and abuse. According to multiple reports, the league will aim to slap Watson with a lengthy suspension.

Massage therapists had filed 24 civil cases against the 26-year-old, with allegations of varying degrees of sexual misconduct that took place while he was getting massages when he was still with the Houston Texans. Watson has settled 20 of the lawsuits so far.

Former judge to oversee hearing

Former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson will conduct the hearing and serve as an independent officer. The NFL Players Association will represent Watson. The proceeding will determine what suspension, if any, the NFL will mete out to the quarterback.

Reports indicate that the league will push for an indefinite suspension without pay for at least one year for violations of the NFL’s policy on personal conduct.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA is bracing for a harsh penalty, and reportedly will contend that Watson should not be given an unpaid suspension. They may point out that the league has been easy on team owners who have also been involved in allegations of sexual misbehavior.

According to the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, “Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy occur.”

Ruling on Deshaun Watson expected in July

The NFL is likely to arrive at a ruling before training camp begins in one month. Either side can appeal the decision, with league commissioner Roger Goodell or another independent officer having the power to modify it as they see fit.

Watson has maintained that he is innocent of the allegations, and two Texas grand juries chose not to indict the quarterback on criminal charges in March.

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