The NFL announced Wednesday that it is appealing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy following allegations of sexual misconduct against him by two dozen women.
This decision comes two days after NFL Disciplinary Officer Sue L. Robinson handed down the six-game regular season suspension. The National Football League Players Association and Watson decided Sunday not to appeal Robinson’s ruling and had urged the league to take the same action.
But in a brief statement Wednesday afternoon, an NFL spokesperson said the league told the NFL Players Association it would appeal Robinson’s decision.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a proxy he appoints will decide on Watson’s suspension, according to the current collective bargaining agreement terms.
Watson was suspended on Aug. 1 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct by 24 women in Texas, where Watson had played for the Houston Texans. The women accused Watson of sexual harassment and assault during massage therapy appointments in 2020 and 2021, including allegedly exposing himself and forcing a woman to have oral sex with him.
On Monday, a lawyer representing women who’ve filed civil suits against Watson said three of the four remaining plaintiffs had reached confidential settlements with him. Watson, meanwhile, has maintained his innocence.
Watson was traded to the Browns in March on a five-year, $230 million contract. The 26-year-old previously spent four years with the Texans and became one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.