NFL Gives DeShawn Watson Lengthy Game Suspension
The Deshaun Watson decision is finally in.
Retired federal Judge Sue Robinson ruled that Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy and has levied a six-game suspension for the Browns quarterback, who was accused by more than 20 female massage therapists of sexual misconduct, ESPN.com reported.
Watson has settled civil cases with 23 of the 24 accusers who sued him, with three more settlements being reported on Monday. Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, settled lawsuits with 30 of his accusers in July.
Terms of the settlements were undisclosed.
The sides have three days to appeal Robinson’s decision, which would be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. However, the NFLPA announced on Sunday that it had no plans to appeal the decision by Robinson and called on the NFL to promise the same.
“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding,” the union said in a statement. “First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge — appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL — held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially.
“Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”
Accusers had repeatedly accused Watson of lurid, unwanted sexual behavior.
Watson did not face criminal charges pertaining to the allegations, and has vehemently denied any non-consensual sexual contact with his accusers.
Watson sat out all of last season, with pay, as these allegations lingered and he otherwise wanted a split from the Texans.
This offseason, the 26-year-old quarterback was traded from the Texans to the Browns and immediately signed a five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed.
The Browns would go on to trade Baker Mayfield to the Panthers after he grew disgruntled over Watson’s acquisition. Veteran Jacoby Brissett is expected to be the starter while Watson is sidelined.