REPORT: Deshaun Watson Suspended Six Games
ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Twitter that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six games, and will not be subject to fines. The Cleveland Browns prepared for this ahead of time by naming quarterback Jacoby Brissett as the official backup, and will play in place of Watson until he returns. Their schedule starts off manageable to start the regular season as they play CAR, NYJ, PIT, ATL, LAC, and NE their first six games. Watson will return just in time to face BAL and CIN back-to-back for their next two.
NFL Networks’ Tom Pelissero reports that Watson must get all of his massage therapy from club therapists, per ruling of Judge Sue L. Robinson. The NFLPA released a statement on Sunday, ahead of the expected decision stating that they will not file to appeal her ruling and urges for the NFL to do the same.
“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding. 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.”
Pelissero also tweeted Judge Sue Robinson’s explanation for her ruling on Watson, noting that the quarterback’s “pattern of behavior was egregious” but was “nonviolent sexual conduct.”
Watson and the NFL allegedly engaged in further settlement talks in recent days, according to Dean Graziano, but neither side could get close. The best that the league claimed it was willing to do was 12 games plus a heavy fine ranging to $8 million, while Watson’s party indicated it would accept a suspension of 6-8 games. The NFL now has three days to decide to appeal Watson’s ruled suspension.
PFF’s Ari Meirov reported via tweet that Watson has reached a confidential settlement with three of his last four accusers. One of those three included plaintiff Ashley Solis, who was one of the first to settle. The Houston Texans settled with 30 of Watson’s accusers on July 15th and subsequently released a statement alleging that the move was not an admission of guilt.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then franchise quarterback in March 2021. Although our organization did not have any knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of any wrongdoing, but instead a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and misconduct. We hope that today’s resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans, and the Houston community at large. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and doing what we can to ensure respect for all.”