Eventually and inevitably, the NFL will take action in the Deshaun Watson case. If that action includes an unpaid suspension imposed under the Personal Conduct Policy, the NFL Players Association will mobilize with an aggressive defense on Watson’s behalf.
Per a source with knowledge of the intended strategy, the NFLPA currently is bracing for a recommendation by the league of “unprecedented” punishment of Watson. Whatever the specific penalty, the union will mobilize to defend Watson, as it is required to do by the federal duty of fair representation.
The source explains that the NFLPA would defend Watson in part by making an aggressive argument premised on the consequences, or lack thereof, imposed on a trio of owners who recently have found themselves embroiled in off-field controversy. The argument will be that the punishment of Watson is not proportional to the punishment of those owners, especially in light of this key line from the Personal Conduct Policy: “Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of the Personal Conduct Policy occur.”
According to the source, the union’s defense of Deshaun Watson will take specific aim at the league’s handling of Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.