The NFL has decided to appeal the six-game suspension handed down by retired federal judge Sue L. Robinson in the Deshaun Watson matter.
With the three-day deadline set to expire on Thursday, the NFL announced the decision in a brief statement. In the statement, the NFL stated as follows:
…the factual findings of the Disciplinary Officer are binding and may not be appealed. Judge Robinson found that Mr. Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy on multiple occasions and suspended him for six games. The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer.
The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon.
As noted in the statement, under the CBA Commissioner Roger Goodell can decide the appeal himself, or he can designate someone to do so:
As the statement indicates, Judge Robinson agreed with the NFL’s factual assertions, but found for a six-game suspension due in part to the NFL’s past discipline decisions, and the fact that such an “unprecedented” punishment would fail to satisfy “notice” requirements. It is also worth noting that a day later, the league imposed a suspension on Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that goes beyond Watson’s suspension, perhaps paving the way for this appeal.