A deal on Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s punishment before a decision is handed down on the NFL’s appeal remains a possibility.
Negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA continued on Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the matter told Front Office Sports. A deal would head off a decision by former New Jersey Attorney Peter C. Harvey, who could issue his ruling on the NFL’s appeal at any time.
Watson issued his first apology since the first allegations of sexual misconduct were made public in March 2021 in an interview with the Browns’ in-house media team on Friday.
“I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson said. “The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back, but I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character and I am going to keep pushing forward.”
The apology, broadcast during the team’s first preseason game, led insiders to speculate that a deal between the NFL and NFLPA remained feasible.
On Aug. 1, Watson was suspended six games by former federal judge Sue L. Robinson — the disciplinary officer selected by the NFL and NFLPA — for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The NFL appealed Robinson’s decision two days later. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could have handled the appeal himself under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, but handed the case off to Harvey.
The NFL and NFLPA were in negotiations before Robinson’s decision was released, but the two sides couldn’t agree to a deal.
The NFL has insisted on a suspension of at least a season. Yahoo Sports reported that the NFL would consider a suspension of less than a full season, but that punishment would include a major fine and mandatory treatment.
“We’ve seen the evidence,” Goodell said last week at a special league meeting in Minnesota (per NFL.com). “[Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence. That there was multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”