Deshaun Watson, the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is still technically unavailable.
In place quarterback Jacoby Brissett, Watson can and, as of Thursday, will start Friday’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson has recommended that Watson be suspended for six games for claims of sexual misconduct during massage sessions, the 26-year-old is still eligible for summer practices and exhibition games.
According to what the commissioner stated about how the league views these violations, “I came up with a formula where the NFL would be well within their rights to request and demand a 24-game suspension,” according to Browns insider Daryl Ruiter on the podcast “It’s Always Gameday in Cleveland,” as reported by Ryan Gilbert of Audacy. “He violated the conduct standard in three ways: harming another person, violating the shield’s integrity, and sexual assault as defined by the National Football League. Sue L. Robinson discovered that. The league has now provided four instances in which therapists have accused him of engaging in this sexual misconduct. Therefore, this is how I reached 24 games because this is how things averages out. Per type of policy infraction, two games. You can now play six games for each occurrence or violation, correct? L Robinson engaged in at least four of the league’s contests in front of Sue. The sum of six and four is 24.
Ruiter went on to say
“The NFL does not see it as a single infraction. They believe they have shown four distinct instances of Deshaun Watson breaking the rules in three different ways. Two games are played for each of the twelve total violations, for a total of 24. They were calling for an indefinite suspension for at least one year, not precisely for 24.
Watson would have to ask for reinstatement at some point in 2023 if the NFL had requested a “indefinite suspension” with a minimum of one year.
Meanwhile, if Watson is suspended for the most or all of the 2017 season, it’s now thought the Browns would make a run for available veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers. On Sept. 11, the Cleveland Browns play the Carolina Panthers in the first game of the regular season, so it stands to reason that they would want either Garoppolo or Brissett to be fully prepared to start in Watson’s stead.
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