Report: NFL To Recommend Indefinite Suspension Of At Least A Year For Deshaun Watson

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal

According to a report, the NFL has told all parties involved in the Deshaun Watson suspension investigation that it proposes an indefinite suspension without pay for Watson for at least a year.

The NFL’s Disciplinary Officer, Sue L Robinson, could follow the NFL’s advice and suspend Watson indefinitely, meaning he’d miss at least all of 2022. Robinson’s initial ruling is expected on Tuesday when she begins hearing the case.

Certain requirements would reportedly have to be satisfied, including continuing the counseling sessions he admitted to attending on the 14th. According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL has refused to compromise on anything less than a one-year punishment for Watson during conversations with the NFLPA.

Depending on the ultimate conditions of Watson’s suspension, his contract might be extended until next season, delaying the start of his NFL-record, completely guaranteed $230 million five-year deal until 2023. In that situation, the Browns would have his rights until 2027.

Last week, it was announced a deal had been struck with all but four of the 24 women who sued Watson and accused him of sexual assault during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021. After the settlements were announced, Brian McCarthy, head of PR for the NFL, told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that these settlements “have no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”

Although two separate Grand Juries decided against recommending a criminal charge against Watson, the lawsuits continued to pile up. The Houston Texans were added to the lawsuit today as defendants, which is no surprise after attorney Tony Buzbee hinted at it earlier this month.

The Texans allegedly had nondisclosure agreement that Watson offered to some of the plaintiffs to sign, according to the New York Times last Tuesday. The NDA’s allegedly came from the Texans’ director of security, Brent Naccara.

The Texans also reportedly donated a hotel room at The Houstonian, where some of the massages took place, according to The Times.

Buzbee alleges the Texans erased a November 2020 social media post by Nia Smith that threatened to expose Watson for his misbehavior during massage treatment sessions with Smith.

A text that is in the lawsuit, from massage therapist Magen Weisheit, allegedly shows that the Texans had known about Watsons alleged actions in March 2020.

“In many of these cases,” Buzbee said, “the Texans provided the opportunity for this conduct to occur. We believe the Texans organization was well aware of Watson’s issues, but failed to act. They knew or certainly should have known.”

“The Houston Texans organization provided rooms for Watson at the high-end Houstonian hotel for his “massages”; the Texans also provided massage tables and other support for Watson’s proclivities — ostensibly to protect their “asset.” Buzbee continued, “We intend to make sure all involved in Watson’s conduct are held accountable, in addition to and including Watson himself.”

The Browns traded three first-round picks as well as two others, to the Texans for Watson and signed him to a guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract. The Browns said they performed “extensive investigative, legal and reference work” before making the Watson trade.