Robert Griffin III claims the NFL’s decision to appeal Deshaun Watson’s suspension is about ‘protecting the brand’ and insists the league has ‘gotten it wrong time and time again’ when it comes to the safety of women
- Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was given a six-game ban
- He was sued by 24 women for sexual misconduct but settled 23 of those lawsuits
- The NFL appealed the suspension and is expected to increase the punishment
- But Robert Griffin III claimed the move was only to protect the league’s image
Former quarterback Robert Griffin III has claimed the NFL’s decision to appeal Deshaun Watson’s suspension is to ‘protect the brand’.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Watson was handed a six-game suspension for the 2022 season by independent arbiter Sue L. Robinson Monday, which the league appealed Wednesday after critics slammed the punishment as a ‘joke’.
The 26-year-old is accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of female massage therapists in the Houston area between 2019 and 2021, when he was a member of the Texans.
Robert Griffin III claimed the NFL’s appeal of Deshaun Watson’s ban is to ‘protect the brand’
However, Griffin, who played for the Browns, has claimed that the decision to file the appeal was the NFL’s move to protect itself rather than women.
Taking to Twitter, Griffin wrote: ‘When it comes to protecting women the NFL has gotten it wrong time and time again.
‘This move to push for a longer suspension is about protecting THE BRAND. Giving off the perception of protecting women is just a by product of the situation. No punches will be held.’
Robinson’s ruling was labeled as a ‘joke’ across social media by critics who felt a six-game suspension was insufficient given the allegations against Watson, and the NFL is now expected to increase the punishment.
The former quarterback claimed the NFL is just giving off the perception of protecting women
The 32-year-old used to played for Watson’s current team, the Cleveland Browns
Watson is the first NFL player to face the new revamped disciplinary process that takes the initial ruling away from commissioner Roger Goodell and places it in the hands of an independent arbiter.
However, under Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, Goodell can hear the appeal himself or appoint a another arbiter – and that ruling by Goodell or his designee will be final and binding to all parties.
Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Goodell will not personally hear the appeal and will designate someone not with the league office to handle it.
The league is appealing for an indefinite suspension that would be a minimum of a year and could also include a monetary fine, according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.