Deshaun WatsonThe hearing before the NFL’s jointly appointed disciplinary officer and NFL Players Association, Sue L. Robinson, is set to begin on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN on Saturday.
Robinson will listen as the NFL expects to push for a “long” suspension of Watson as the NFL defends Cleveland Browns Quarterback, who was accused of molesting, assaulting, or touching 26 women during massage dates when he was with Houston Texas. One source said the NFL would likely base the proposed discipline on only a small portion of the testimony of these women, as the league was unable to speak with a number of women who interacted with Watson.
Watson was at one time facing 24 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and indecent behavior during massage sessions. He has agreed to settle 20 of those cases.
Robinson does not have a track record of adjudicating cases involving NFL players, although one source said her decision could come within a week but could also take until training camp. The NFL hopes to clear this issue up before training camp begins in late July.
Once Robinson rules, Watson will have the option of appealing. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can either rule on this appeal or summon an independent governor.
Robinson, a former member of the Delaware District Court for more than 25 years, now looms large as one of the most influential people of the upcoming 2022 NFL season. She has worked primarily on cases involving patent disputes – including multibillion dollar prop litigations – but also numerous trademark infringement and antitrust cases.
During her tenure, she served as Delaware’s first female chief justice, as well as being chosen to serve on the Judicial Conference of the United States.