Quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended Monday for six games for violating the N.F.L.’s personal conduct policy and was not fined, concluding the league’s 15-month investigation into sexual misconduct claims made against him by more than two dozen women.
It was the first N.F.L. player disciplinary decision to be handled by an arbitration process established in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, which sought to bolster a system that had been criticized for inconsistencies and potential conflicts of interest.
Since Roger Goodell became N.F.L. commissioner in 2006, he has taken a stricter stance on player punishment than his predecessors, levying some of the lengthiest player suspensions in the league’s history. The personal conduct policy includes provisions for penalizing players even if their transgressions did not result in criminal convictions.
But while Goodell once wielded unilateral power in disciplinary action, revisions to the policy in the last decade have shifted some of the process to third parties. Watson’s penalty was imposed by a retired federal judge who was jointly approved by the league and the players’ union. But Goodell, or someone he appoints, would still have the last word if the league appeals the decision.
Here are some of the most notable suspensions of N.F.L. players during Goodell’s tenure as commissioner: