Mike Florio ‘I’m not going to be surprised if (Watson’s) not suspended at all’

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At this point, with the hearing completed, the only two things that matter for Deshaun Watson is what Judge Sue Robinson decides and, if it comes to it, what happens if either side appeals her ruling. Other than that, we are likely to hear conjecture, purposeful leaks and two sides trying to get ahead of what is decided.

We’ve already heard that the NFL doesn’t want to go through the appeal process on Robinson’s first ruling in here role. Following the completion of the hearing, we shared all the information that became available quickly including a significant amount from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Of the many things Florio tweeted out Thursday night, that the NFL didn’t present evidence of any ‘violence, threat, force or coercion’ by Watson seemed to be the biggest. That could have the most significant 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 lawyer and used that history to try to unpack some of the legal details in a video for NBC Sports (the full video can be seen below). You can watch the video for yourself but here are a few, not all, of the key points:

  • He expects a decision around July 25th

  • Robinson’s decision will be detailed with Florio expecting ‘north of 20 pages’

  • Her ‘findings of fact’ are binding on any appeal, NFL/Roger Goodell cannot make decisions based on anything outside of those facts

  • Reiterates Robinson can only rule based on five cases

  • Discusses the baseline of 6 games if evidence of assault or violence not being appropriate

  • Mentions the Robert Kraft issue and how it may be used in comparison to this case

  • Breaks down what Watson’s camp could have done from a PR perspective

In a written piece, in which the video is also included, Florio defended his sourcing of the story:

(1) I take all possible agendas and biases into account before reporting anything; (2) I strive for accuracy, regardless of whether the source may coincidentally have an interest in the information being reported; and (3) no narrative or agenda means a damn thing, because Judge Sue L. Robinson eventually will 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 there is little or no discipline handed down, and that seems more likely than ever to him.

Florio is just one reporter with however many sources close to the situation as he has. He has been the most vocal about what his sources are telling him, at least based on this writer’s knowledge, of anyone. His reporting, especially his tweet about no ‘violence, threat, force or coercion’ evidence, has shaped the narrative since Thursday night.

As he notes in his written piece, all that matters is what Robinson decides and, if used, what happens in the appeal. Until then, Florio’s sources are painting a picture that seems to point toward Watson playing most, if not all, of the 2022 season in Cleveland.