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Initial public reaction to Deshaun Watson suspension is not positive

Mike Florio and Chris Simms think the NFL has invited more criticism after Judge Sue L. Robinson decided to suspend Deshaun Watson for six games.

In recent weeks, as news surfaced regarding the evidence that was, and wasn’t, introduced in the three-day Deshaun Watson hearing, a sense emerged that Judge Sue L. Robinson wouldn’t come close to suspending Watson for a full year. However, most football fans may not have been paying attention during one of the slowest periods of the year for the NFL.

Most football fans won’t realize that, despite 24 civil cases (23 have settled), the league introduced evidence as to four accusers before Judge Robinson, not 24. Most fans have witnessed the manner in which attorney Tony Buzbee has worked the court of public opinion for more than 16 months. Many fans have decided that Watson deserves a suspension longer than six games.

We’ve posted this question on Twitter. Do you agree with Deshaun Watson being suspended six games? With nearly 20,000 ballots cast in little more than an hour, 77.6 percent say no.

Voting remains open until tomorrow morning. Usually, the numbers don’t change all that much from the first hour.

While there’s a chance that some disagree because they think six games is too much, the pro-Watson crowd generally regards six games as good next.

Public reaction will be a factor in the NFL’s final decision as to whether an appeal should be filed to the Commissioner, and in the Commissioner’s decision on appeal. The league can’t afford to be perceived being as too lenient with players who commit misconduct against women. That lesson was learned via the disaster of the Ray Rice case.

Judge Robinson already has determined that Watson engaged in misconduct. If the voices objecting to a six-game suspension become loud enough, the league will have no choice but to exercise its prerogative to increase it.