Retired federal judge and independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson made the decision Monday, ESPN reported.
CNN has reached out to the NFL, NFLPA and the Browns for comment.
Robinson heard Watson’s case in late June and was jointly appointed by the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), under their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Either party can now appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in writing within three business days, according to the CBA. Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute a full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding on the player,” according to the CBA.
On Sunday night, the NFLPA and Watson issued a joint statement, saying they will not appeal regardless of the decision, and asking the NFL to do the same.
Watson did not play last season while a member of the Houston Texans due to investigations into allegations of misconduct including sexual assault and harassment involving more than two dozen women.
Watson, who was traded to the Browns in March, has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.
In June, Watson settled 20 of 24 lawsuits filed by women accusing him of misconduct, according to an attorney for the 24 accusers.
In July, 30 women who “have made, or intended to make, claims” against the Houston Texans organization over the sexual misconduct allegations against Watson settled their claims, according to a statement from plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee, and a statement issued. for ownership of the Houston Texans.