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Report: NFL likely to accept judge's ruling in Deshaun Watson case; hearing expected to last multiple days

According to the Associated Press, the NFL isn't likely to appeal Judge Sue L. Robinson's ruling on Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

CLEVELAND — Tuesday marked the first day of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's disciplinary hearing with the NFL.

But while a punishment has yet to be issued for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, a new report has shed some light on how the process is likely to play out.

Per the most recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which went into effect in 2020, punishment for a player is issued by an independent arbiter who has been jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). But while former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson will be responsible for issuing a ruling on Watson's case, the NFL maintains the ability to appeal any punishment that is issued (the NFL cannot make such an appeal if no punishment is issued).

In the event that the NFL does appeal, the final ruling is made by the league's commissioner, Rodger Goodell, or a designee. But while the NFL -- which has reportedly recommended an indefinite suspension last at least one season for Watson -- essentially maintains the ability to have the last word in the event that any type of punishment is issued, according to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the league is planning to stick with Robinson's ruling.

"I'm also told the NFL, despite insisting on indefinite suspension, wants to avoid the appeals process - source said 'a terrible situation for everyone involved'-  so league is more likely to abide by Sue Robinson's ruling IF she came back with 6-8 games," Maaddi tweeted on Tuesday night.

Watson's disciplinary hearing comes as the result of several women having accused the Clemson product of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, during his time with the Houston Texans. Last week, Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits that had been filed against him.

But while two Texas grand juries have declined to indict Watson, he could still face punishment, including a suspension and/or fine, if it's found that he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy. As for a timetable for such punishment being issued, this week's hearing is expected to last "multiple days," according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

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