As NFL training camps are just a couple of weeks away, a few stories are dominating the news around the league. Here’s what’s in the headlines in the league this week.
Long Suspension Recommended for Watson
On Monday, the NFL informed Deshaun Watson and the Players Association that it is recommending he be suspended indefinitely for at least one year for violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. He would not be eligible to be reinstated until at least the start of the 2023 season. League disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson will begin hearing the case on Tuesday and is the person that will be handing down the initial ruling against Watson.
If Robinson takes the league’s recommendation in her decision, Watson will miss the entire 2022 season and would have to meet certain conditions after applying for reinstatement. He has already acknowledged that he has been taking counseling sessions, which would be a part of the requirements he would need to return to the team.
Watson is being accused of sexual misconduct and has been sued by 24 massage therapists he hired, mainly in the Houston area. Settlements were reached in 20 cases, although he maintains his innocence and says he settled the cases to move the process forward and continue his football career. Once the decision on his suspension is handed down, either side can appeal, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell having the final say on what punishment Watson will receive.
Hall of Famer Sapp Says Kaepernick Workout a ‘Disaster’
After the Las Vegas Raiders had a workout with Colin Kaepernick last month, it appeared to everyone that his return to the NFL might come next season. The team reportedly was impressed with his level of conditioning and his arm strength and considered the workout a success, although they have yet to sign him to a contract.
In a recent interview with Vlad TV, former All-Pro defensive lineman Warren Sapp said otherwise, saying, “I heard it was a disaster. I heard it was one of the worst workouts ever.” He also said he couldn’t believe video footage of the workout hadn’t surfaced so far. The Hall of Famer also said he doesn’t anticipate an NFL return for the quarterback.
Kaepernick has been trying to get back into the league for several years after leaving the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. His agent, Jeff Nalley, had an issue with Sapp’s comments. He said in a text to Pro Football Talk, “I’m surprised Warren would say that, because it’s not true and you think he would want Kap on a team.” Regardless of the results of the workout, Kaepernick’s five-year absence from pro football has impacted his ability to perform at a high level.
League Seeks Arbitration in Flores Discrimination Suit
Six teams and the NFL have filed for arbitration in the Brian Flores lawsuit, which alleges they engaged in racial discrimination practices during the hiring process. The league filed papers last week to a judge presiding over the case, who is unlikely to make a ruling on arbitration until later this summer. Two other Black NFL coaches, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, also joined Flores’ lawsuit.
On Wednesday, an attorney for the coaches, David Gottlieb, said that the case moving into arbitration would be “stripping our clients of their rights.” If the judge rules in their favor, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would be the arbitrator in the case. The league pointed out that agreements with the teams Flores signed have provisions requiring all disputes to go to arbitration to be settled.