Deshaun Watson will start for the Cleveland Browns in their first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night, the organization announced on Wednesday. In addition, the Browns said they will use most of their starters on Friday in Jacksonville.
For breaking the NFL’s personal conduct rules, Watson is presently facing a six-game ban; however, the NFL stated on August 3 that it is appealing Watson’s penalty. There is no set deadline for a decision, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has assigned former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to handle the appeal.
Harvey’s decision will be “the full and complete determination of the matter and shall be binding upon the players, Clubs, and parties’ to the CBA,” as stated in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement. The league is requesting that Watson, who has been charged with sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions, serve at least a one-year ban. On Tuesday, Goodell provided an explanation for the league’s choice to appeal Watson’s punishment, claiming that the available information demonstrated that Watson had broken the NFL’s personal-conduct policy many times. He said that they had reviewed the evidence and found several infractions.