Deshaan Watson’s disciplinary hearing is on Thursday with the NFL regarding an indefinite suspension of at least one year and the quarterback’s legal team arguing that there is no basis for that sentence, two people with knowledge of the matter told the Associated Press. .
Both sides presented their arguments before former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware because the hearing is not public, according to both people who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Watson was charged with sexual misconduct by 24 women and settled 20 civil cases.
Robinson, who was appointed jointly by the league and the NFL Players Association, will determine whether Watson has violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to enforce discipline.
Post-hearing briefs are due the week of July 11, so it is uncertain when Robinson will make a decision. The Cleveland Browns are hoping to find out Watson’s availability before training camp begins July 27.
If the union or league appeals Robinson’s decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his nominee will “issue a written decision that constitutes a full, final and complete settlement of the dispute,” in accordance with the terms of Article 46 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that the league believes it produced evidence to keep Watson off the field this season. The person said that the league’s investigation determined that Watson had committed multiple violations of the personal conduct policy and would have to undergo counseling before returning.
A person familiar with Watson’s defense told the Associated Press they expect a suspension. Asked if that would be acceptable, he said: “Our goal this year is to get him back on the field.”
Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the charges.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.
This is the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first female Chief Justice of the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to enforce discipline for personal conduct policy violations.
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