NFL’s Deshaun Watson suspension appeal about ‘protecting the brand,’ ex-quarterback says

NFL’s Deshaun Watson suspension appeal about ‘protecting the brand,’ ex-quarterback says

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Robert Griffin III tried to read between the lines when it came to the NFL’s decision to appeal the suspension given to Deshaun Watson from an independent disciplinary officer.

Griffin tweeted Wednesday the decision from the league was about “protecting the band.”

“When it comes to protecting women the NFL has gotten it wrong time and time again. This move to push for a longer suspension is about protecting THE BRAND. Giving off the perception of protecting women is just a by product of the situation. No punches will be held,” the NFL quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst wrote.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson prepares to throw a pass during the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson prepares to throw a pass during the NFL football team’s training camp, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

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The decision came two days after independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson recommended the punishment for the Cleveland Browns quarterback. Watson was accused by 24 women in Texas of sexual assault. He settled 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him and avoided criminal charges with two grand juries.

However, in Robinson’s 16-page report, she described Watson’s behavior as “more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy released a statement on the league’s decision to appeal.

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Robert Griffin III, #10 of the then-Washington Redskins, looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Robert Griffin III, #10 of the then-Washington Redskins, looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

“On Monday, Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent Disciplinary Officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, issued her ruling in the Personal Conduct Policy matter regarding Deshaun Watson,” the statement read.

“Under the 2020 NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’), the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed. Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games. The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer.

“Such an appeal must be filed within three days and would be heard by the Commissioner or his designee.

“The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear that appeal.”

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks to the media after minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus June 14, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks to the media after minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus June 14, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

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According to the NFL Network, the NFLPA has two days to respond to the appeal. The NFLPA preemptively said Sunday it would not appeal Robinson’s ruling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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