Mike Florio on Deshaun Watson and covering NFL controversies

Mike Florio, 57, is the creator and co-owner of ProFootballTalk, one of the nation’s leading NFL news platforms, an affiliate of NBC Sports. Florio co-hosts “Pro Football

Talk Live” and appears weekly on NBC’s “Football Night in America.” He is the author of “Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (and Doesn’t).” Florio lives with his family in West

Virginia. The ruling for Deshaun Watson came in — 11 game suspension, $5 million fine. You’ve been following this closely. Were you surprised by the ruling? I

expected that the NFL would suspend him for at least a calendar year and take whatever consequences came from that. And then I started hearing that there was a possibility of a

settlement. My guess is the NFL Players Association was dug in at 10 games and the NFL wanted 12, and you obviously split the difference to 11 and Deshaun Watson pays a little bit

more than he wanted to get back on the field sooner. I am surprised it happened because I felt like all the momentum was pointing toward the NFL taking full advantage of the power

that it has, once it got the ruling from [appointed disciplinary officer] Sue L. Robinson finding that he had violated the personal conduct policy in three different ways, with

four different women, nonviolent sexual assault, egregious behavior, predatory conduct, and then Commissioner [Roger Goodell] spoke about it at a league meeting. I thought: That’s

it, game over. We’re not going to see Deshaun Watson at all in 2022. The thing that shocked me yesterday: his public comments where he said, “I stand on my innocence.”

And it reminded me of someone who agrees to a guilty plea and then, right after the ink dries, says, “I didn’t do anything.”