The league is said to be pressing for an indefinite suspension that would last at least a full season. The union, in not appealing Judge Sue L. Robinson’s comment, indicated that it would accept the ban, but also asked the NFL not to appeal.
Now that the NFL has appealed and the suspension seems likely to be longer, people are wondering if a.) the NFLPA will sue the NFL if it thinks the suspension is too long and b.) Will the lawsuit suspend the suspension and allow In the first week of the regular season, Watson plays against the Panthers.
NFLPA lawsuits against the NFL have delayed suspension in the past. Both Ezekiel Elliott and Tom Brady were able to play in the regular season competitions as the lawsuit played out in court. But the positions of Elliott and Brady were different from those of Watson.
MORE: Who is the NFL designer deciding to suspend Deshaun Watson?
This is why Watson is unlikely to play the first week of the season.
Could Deshaun Watson play in Week 1?
Brady (Deflategate) and Elliott (domestic violence allegations) were suspended by the NFL in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and the NFLPA has appealed both bans. The suspensions were upheld, then the NFL took the NFL to court, arguing that none of the players had committed offenses that warranted a suspension.
While both Brady and Elliot ended up losing their legal battles and had to serve their suspension, Brady was able to play all of the 2015 season before giving up a fight and sitting in the first four games of the 2016 season. Elliott held his six-game suspension until late in the 2017 season, where he missed For weeks 10 to 15.
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But Watson’s situation is different. Since the NFLPA did not appeal Robinson’s six-way suspension, he accepted that he would be out in the first six games of the season and return in week seven. It should have been suspended. Brady’s suspension was initially dismissed by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who ruled that the NFL had not notified Brady of the potential suspension. Elliott was granted a preliminary injunction, which suspended the suspension until the court cases were concluded.
As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Watson still has to be suspended for six games even if his case goes to federal court.
“The question is really what happens in the seventh inning? That’s where the discussion would kind of start if they took the federal court path,” Rapoport said.
– Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 5, 2022
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Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk mentioned another issue with how the appeal process works. The NFL’s position is that Watson’s suspension must be longer than six games. The person appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeal, Peter C. Harvey, cannot clear the existing suspension; All he can do is agree with the NFL that the suspension should be for more games or say the ban should stay six games.
The league’s personal conduct policy does not allow an appeal to be overturned if the appeal is only intended to further the suspension. A preliminary injunction in federal court is unlikely because the NFLPA will have to prove irreparable harm if the suspension goes into effect. That wouldn’t be the case here because Watson is already forced to play the first six games regardless of the appeal.
Additionally, Robinson concluded that Watson violated the personal conduct policy three different times for nonviolent sexual assault. By not appealing the suspension, the NFLPA accepted Robinson’s findings, making them binding, according to Florio.
MORE: Kevin Stefansky reacts to Watson’s comment
Then there is Watson’s contract. Brown pays him $1.035 million in base salary in 2022. That means the games he missed this year will only cost him money from that amount. However, should his suspension leak to 2023, each missed match would cost him a share of the $46 million in guaranteed salary he is set to receive that year. Instead of losing $60,882 per game, Watson would lose $2,705,882 per game.
Florio said it is likely that the NFLPA will attempt to challenge the NFL if a longer suspension is imposed, but given the money Watson would lose if his suspension leaked to 2023 and the possibility that the NFLPA would not win in court against the league, there might be enough incentive not to allow this legal battle to drag on. Too much.