Last week, the NFL decided to appeal the six-game suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson from the league for sexual misconduct. The appeal was unexpected, as many expected more punishment for Watson. But Watson and the NFL Players’ Association are fighting back.
Watson and the NFLPA say the punishment is fair. And the NFLPA’s response to the league’s appeal included a long list of past misconduct involving team owners that did not lead to league punishment. The NFLPA specifically referred to the league’s handling of cases involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (who was charged with solicitation of prostitution after a massage turned into a sexual encounter in 2019; those charges eventually dropped), Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder (accused of fostering a toxic workplace environment, including sexual harassment charges), and Dallas owner Cowboys Jerry Jones (the league did not conduct its own investigation of a 2015 scandal that saw former Cowboys vice president of communications Rich Dalrymple accused of voyeurism, and saw a $2.4 million settlement with four former cheerleaders, which Jones only publicly addressed earlier this year).
The NFLPA is referring to the portion of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy that states “Ownership and management of the club or league have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy occur,” and cites those three cases in particular to say the league meted out less punishment there than they did Watson. But Jones (pictured center above with Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell) doesn’t seem too concerned about being specifically named in the NFLPA’s response. On Sunday, Jones told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram these kinds of comparisons are “what you get when you’re part of the NFL.” Here’s more from that piece:
“It’s a standard players’ association comeback,” Jones said. ”That’s the drill. That’s the exercise to turn around to say you didn’t punish something. Everyone knows that every player case and every case involving non-players in the NFL is dealing with dramatically different underlying facts, which is all the difference in the world.”
… “It would be like going down to the court and saying, ‘I didn’t give that guy that much’ and not considering what the action was or the circumstances behind it,” Jones told the Star-Telegram. “That’s called shooting volleys. That’s just shooting stuff on your back. That’s how I look at it when I see something like that.”
…In his mind, none of it has any bearing on the Watson case. “I can’t talk about any club, Watson or to refer to the punishment of anyone,” said Jones. “I can only say that’s what you get when you’re part of the NFL. It’s not unexpected.”
Regarding Watson’s case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has hired former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to listen. There is no specific timeline for a decision, but the Personal Conduct Policy states that appeals will be “processed on an expedited basis.”
[The Fort Worth Star-Telegram; photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports]
About Stacey Mickles
Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South. See the article : Football and cheerleading registration extended.