CLEVELAND — Shortly after NFL Disciplinary Officer and former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson issued a six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson on Monday morning, the NFL released the full 16-page report of Robinson's ruling.
Of note, Robinson ruled that Watson violated the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy and that the league met the burden of proof to demonstrate that the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback engaged in conduct that qualifies as sexual assault, conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person and conduct that undermines, or puts at risk, the integrity of the NFL. Robinson also said that while she didn't believe that Watson's behavior qualified as "violent," she called his conduct "more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL."
But based on the precedent set in previous cases, as well as the CBA, Robinson said that she couldn't justify suspending Watson for more than six games. Additionally, she also ruled that he now must only receive massages from team-appointed therapists.
"While it may be entirely appropriate to more severely discipline players for non-violent sexual conduct, I do not believe it is appropriate to do so without notice of the extraordinary change this position portends for the NFL and its players," Robinson wrote.
You can view the entirety of the report from Robinson -- who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) below:
Following Robinson's ruling, the question now becomes whether or not the league will make an appeal, which would then be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a designee. On Sunday, the NFLPA and Watson issued a statement saying that they wouldn't be appealing the decision and called on the NFL not to either.
While evidence was only presented from four of the cases against Watson, a total of 25 women have filed lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, during his time with the Houston Texans. Watson has since reached settlements on 23 of the cases, with a 25th having been dropped.
Last month, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women regarding accusations that they enabled the Clemson product's behavior. Two Texas grand juries have declined to indict Watson on criminal charges regarding the accusations.