At this point, with the hearing complete, the only two things that matter to Deshaun Watson are what Judge Sue Robinson decides and, when it comes down to it, what happens if either party appeals her ruling. Other than that, we’re likely to hear suspicions, targeted leaks, and two parties trying to pre-empt what’s being decided.
We’ve already heard that the NFL does not want to go through the appeals process against Robinson’s first ruling in her role. After the hearing, we have shared all the information that quickly became available, including a significant amount from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Of the many things Florio tweeted on Thursday evening, that the NFL has provided no evidence of any ‘violence, threat, force or coercion’ by Watson appeared to be the greatest. That could have the biggest impact on Watson playing for the Cleveland Browns this year.
Florio, one of the faces of NBC’s Football Night in America, is a former attorney and used that history to try to unravel some legal details in a video for NBC Sports (full video can be seen below). You can watch the video for yourself, but here are a few, not all, key points:
He expects a decision around July 25
Robinson’s decision is detailed and Florio expects ‘north of 20 pages’
Her ‘findings of facts’ are binding on any appeal, NFL/Roger Goodell cannot make decisions based on anything outside of those facts
Reiterates that Robinson can only decide on the basis of five cases
Discusses the baseline of 6 games if evidence of assault or violence is inappropriate
Mentions the Robert Kraft case and how it can be used in comparison to this case
Breaking down what Watson’s camp could have done from a PR perspective
In a written piecein which the video is also shot, Florio defended his source of the story:
(1) I consider all possible agendas and prejudices before reporting anything; (2) I strive for accuracy, whether or not the source happens to have an interest in the information being reported; and (3) no story or agenda means a damn thing, because Judge Sue L. Robinson will ultimately determine the facts and then apply the personal conduct policy to them.
He also notes that people close to the situation are “VERY” concerned about the public’s reaction if little or no discipline is imposed, and that seems more likely to him than ever.
Florio is just one reporter with as many sources close to the situation as he has. He has been most outspoken about what his sources tell him, at least based on this writer’s knowledge of anyone. His reporting, especially his tweet of no evidence of “violence, threat, force or coercion,” has shaped the story since Thursday night.
As he points out in his written piece, all that matters is what Robinson decides and, if used, what happens in the profession. Until then, Florio’s sources paint a picture that seems to indicate that Watson will be playing most, if not all, of the 2022 season in Cleveland.