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NFLPA plans to defend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson if the NFL punishes him for sexual assault cases.

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A source informed Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio that the NFLPA will claim Watson's penalty isn't the same as how the NFL penalised three team owners following off-field controversies.

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Florio's source names Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

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"The NFLPA is preparing for the league to recommend 'unprecedented' punishment for Watson," Florio said.

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"The NFLPA would defend Watson by citing the repercussions, or lack thereof, inflicted on three owners lately mired in off-field scandal. The argument will be that Watson's punishment is not proportional to that of the owners

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especially in light of this key line from the Personal Conduct Policy: 'Ownership and club or league management

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have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when Personal Conduct Policy violations occur.'"

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The NFL investigated Snyder for workplace misbehaviour, fining him $10 million and forcing him to give his wife day-to-day operations. His team wasn't suspended or sold. 

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Snyder faces two congressional investigations after an NFL probe. He refused to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

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Kraft was charged with solicitation in 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. A court threw away the video evidence against him after he pleaded not guilty in 2020. The league didn't punish Kraft.

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ESPN reports that Jones paid $2.4 million to four Cowboys cheerleaders who accused Richard Dalrymple of photographing them in the women's locker area. No violation was identified by Dalrymple, and neither Jones nor the Cowboys were probed by the NFL

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The NFLPA's objective is to demand equitable treatment for owners accused of comparable infractions, not to refute Watson's charges. It also entails revealing the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy enforcement.

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If the NFL suspends Watson regardless of the civil charges against him, the NFLPA may argue why Snyder, Kraft, and Jones didn't get similar punishments.

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in May that the league's investigation into Watson was "nearing the end," but new lawsuits have placed doubt on when the league will decide.

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Watson told reporters on Tuesday he "never assaulted, mistreated or harassed anyone" despite 20+ civil sexual misconduct complaints against him and a New York Times piece detailing other alleged interactions with massage therapists.