The NFL and NFLPA concluded their hearing before Judge Sue Robinson on Thursday regarding Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson.
The two sides faced Robinson, the independent arbitrator agreed to in the CBA, for three days to present their cases. While it was expected that a verdict could come on Fridaywith the hearing lasting the full three days it is less likely.
It has been clear all week that the NFL wants indefinite suspension of at least one year, while the NFLPA does not see it as a priority. It is possible that Watson’s side brings up the lack of discipline, including limited investigation, for Robert Kraft†
Shortly after the hearing ended, reports came from various quarters. Here’s what we know as of late Thursday afternoon:
Ken Blaze-US TODAY Sports
Robinson has asked for brief hearings from both sides, but they are reportedly not set until July 11:
According to a lawyer (also a Browns fan), brief hearings are a normal part of what a thorough judge would want.
That time frame means Robinson will review what she has over the next two weeks as the two sides put together their briefing. She will then take the time to review them before making a statement.
Of the alleged victims interviewed, only five cases were presented by NFL
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Despite 24 civil lawsuits filed and 12 alleged victims interviewed by the NFL, along with the ability to make information from the grand jury and civil cases available, the NFL focused on just five of the cases at the hearing:
While public attention has been on 24, if the NFL only presented five cases, Robinson will likely decide based on those five cases alone.
Potentially Huge: NFL Reportedly Didn’t Present…
…any evidence of violence, threat, violence or coercion by Watson:
The reports of such behavior were some of the worst parts of the allegations against Watson. While seeking massages from a variety of women may be different (or whatever other description is used), if there was no violence, threat, violence, or coercion, it creates a very different picture of his behavior.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any of those things in any of the cases, but just because the NFL hasn’t presented any of these things means Robinson won’t make a statement about it.
NFL admits a few things
Kirby Lee-US TODAY Sports
Also according to Pro Football Talk, the NFL understands that they are seeking an unprecedented punishment and that their limited investigation into Kraft has led to no discipline:
That confirms the fact that the NFLPA used Kraft’s situation as part of their argument and that the NFL is steadfast in its desire for strong penalties.
Audio: A lawyer doubts discipline is a slam dunk
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
In a radio spot with 92.3 The Fan, Daniel Wallach listed the Kraft case along with the cases of Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder. Inconsistent discipline, the language of personal conduct policy, and what Robinson, as a former federal judge, will do was all discussed†
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Based on everything we know, the timeline appears to have been set for Robinson to make a ruling in mid-July and have an eventual appeal process take place soon after.
It is possible, with the time between the end of the hearing and the short terms, that the NFL and Watson’s side will reenter settlement talks. Both sides have an idea of how the hearing went, but no certainty about what Robinson will decide. While it seems unlikely, the NFL may be willing to waive their “at least a year” wish if they believe Robinson’s ruling goes against their wishes.
If not, the whole process should be just in time for the training camp to start with, hopefully, some clarity for Browns fans†