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As the NFL's Deshawn Watson case draws to a close, the next steps are vague and frustrating

Questions, frustration and vague answers surrounding the case of the Browns quarterback accused of sexual misconduct or multiple sexual assaults as we near the final stages of the impact of the NFL’s personal actions on Cleveland’s DeShawn Watson There is a huge supply of Women, a violation of the League’s Personal Conduct Policy. This is the first test of the disciplinary system that Watson’s lawsuit has changed, as Sue L. Robinson, the first arbitrator to influence the process, has been for and against his NFL. Visibility is also a factor.

As a result, two issues have spilled over this week. First, the league’s appeal of Robinson’s six-game suspension was against Peter C. Harvey (chosen by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to make the final ruling). Then there’s the question of what options are left for Watson and the Browns once Harvey makes his final decision.

Yahoo Sports spoke to three sources who participated in Watson’s lawsuit up to this stage in the process and asked where the relationship between the parties was and whether it would be clarified in the next stage.

Arbitrator Peter C. Harvey is ‘really the most important person right now’

The advantages of the opinion all had several undertones that conveyed similar messages. And now there’s little clarity as to where this is going to end up. Harvey, a former New Jersey Attorney General with ties to the NFL, has a lot of power to end Watson’s case in a ruling that creates more layers of compromise than Robinson’s.

Conversely, Harvey could slide the punitive scale entirely in the league’s direction, putting Watson and the NFL Players Association in a fighting stance that could lead to another form of lawsuit.

A source involved in the Watson case said:[Harvey] Literally have the last word on what was negotiated [between the NFL and NFLPA]He can say “this is it” without threat of appeal. So he is now the most important person in this. It all depends on him, but he has the task of finding something that is not only fair, but positive for everyone. That’s it for now. Just make sure everyone accepts the results. …or going the other way would be more bare knuckles and martial arts than before. But I think there is still room for compromise. It’s probably not happy for everyone, but I don’t think any part of this process was about creating happiness. “

Clearly, happiness wasn’t the end result after Robinson’s decision. Robinson basically told the NFL that her hand was a draw, resulting in a six-game suspension. The personal conduct policy “applies equally to players, team owners and managers” but has not appeared in the past, it added in a footnote. It applies equally to all these parties.

When Robinson’s decisions were parsed, two polarizing camps were deployed.

In one corner, the league basically ruled in broad agreement with everything the NFL argued, but disagreed with Robinson’s reliance on past suspension precedent. On appeal, the NFL continued to hold its stance that Watson was a special case whose unprecedented behavior required an unprecedented suspension.

In the other corner, Robinson’s immediate adoption of the league’s view of Watson’s actions was problematic, but the union was happy to use past precedent as a guardrail for her decision. This, even Robinson noted, indicated that her suspension sentence generally exceeded the normal standard, applying the kind of justice that was attached to first-time domestic violence offenses.

In hindsight, the details of the settlement talks foreshadowed the appeal of the NFL. The league’s final “spitball” settlement against Watson and the Union was a 12-game suspension and a hefty fine (nearly the $10.5 million he earned from Houston in 2021 from the Texans). That’s a much higher margin than a six-game suspension. And by extension, the chasm eventually became large enough for the league to undermine Robinson’s grounds for suspension.

That’s how Goodell chose Harvey for his appeal this week. Here are the basic questions at hand.

Deshawn Watson’s punishment for the NFL now rests with former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, who ultimately has ties to the league. (AP Photo/David Dahmer)

What’s going on with the NFL’s Deshawn Watson suspension appeal?

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Mark Muske of The Washington Post At the league’s owners meeting on Tuesday, the team said it would “respect and respect the process” of the appeal. You can respect and respect the process in progress and fight it when it finishes. Ultimately, Watson and his NFLPA will be forced into a fight with or without the Browns.

So what is happening now? Harvey is reviewing input from the NFL and his NFLPA to determine whether a speedy suspension decision can be made without another hearing. Legal opinion is that he can. But he’s also responsible for leading this part of the process – not leagues or unions or outsiders sharing analysis.

As of Monday, there were no indications from sources that settlement talks were underway between the NFL and the Watson camp or the union. Explained. It doesn’t bode well for a breakthrough, especially when both sides were on better terms when they failed to achieve it a few weeks ago.

Note that Harvey has the same elements of control that Robinson did when manipulating along his own timeline. Harvey was appointed to this task by Goodell, but there was no indication that he was mandated to make decisions in a finite timeline. The NFL and the Watson campaign will be notified when it comes out. This is the essence of both “respect and respect the process”.

What can Harvey do here with his decisions?

This is an interesting question with a variety of answers. A source involved in the process suggested that Harvey could “in theory” reduce Watson’s suspension to three games, in line with past precedent Robinson pointed out in her decision. Sources said such a scenario is “not realistic.” A second source in the process states that Watson did not appeal Robinson’s six-game suspension, so that would be the baseline, and that Harvey’s options would have been better than having the ability to reduce Robinson’s six-game suspension. said it would be limited to standing.

“I don’t think there are actually six cuts. [game suspension]’, said a second source.

From all perspectives, the bigger question is how far Harvey will go with the suspension already in place. But she sees it as a domestic violence suspension and said applying it to Watson’s case would set a new standard for what the league thinks. nonviolent sexual assault. Harvey could also have acted on the knowledge that the NFL appeared to be temporarily agreeing to a 12-game suspension with a hefty fine.

Of course, it’s also possible that Harvey will review the minutes, the synopsis, Robinson’s decisions, the NFL’s 215-page investigative report, and ultimately endorse the league’s interpretation of the extraordinary situation. A one-year ban that fits the league’s narrative of unprecedented punishment for the situation.

Is there another avenue for litigation? What does that mean for Watson’s season?

this is far It was the most debated and speculated point since the NFL appealed Robinson’s decision, and Watson and the union chose not to appeal the outcome. , which is easiest to boil down to this: No one is 100% sure what kind of arguments can be mustered following Harvey’s decision. make Since it’s a decision, there’s nothing to delve into in the discussion.

That said, with Watson and Union returning to discuss a six-match suspension, there seems to be agreement that it will be difficult to win any kind. There is none. Just because it sounds like a losing road doesn’t mean it’s a closed road. Especially if the current process features new elements and is still in progress.

In general, everyone involved seems to have settled on a six-match suspension locked by Robinson and Harvey roles “fixing” that decision. That’s the language written in the process. But no one wants to make a definitive statement as to whether future injunctions are impossible before the process is complete.

One source familiar with the language that governs the process and the arguments that take place within it summed it up in a frustrating rebuttal. Nothing is certain here. NO WARRANTIES. “

From a legal point of view it is a fair statement. The previous system appeared in court in the Ezekiel Elliott and Tom Brady lawsuits. This modified system does not. And I don’t know if any failures in the process (as yet to be confirmed) will suddenly occur at this final stage for Harvey.

That alone is enough to make the result uncertain. It’s still an ongoing process, with no final judgment or many unanswered questions, just the underlying reality that Harvey has come to some sort of conclusion and everyone can live together. , all these other questions are nothing more than wasted breath and speculation.