Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games Monday for violating the NFL’s private conduct coverage, the league mentioned Monday.
The NFL has three days to attraction the ruling by retired federal decide Sue L. Robinson, who presided over the disciplinary listening to and issued the choice.
“We respect Judge Robinson’s diligence and professionalism all through this course of,” in accordance with a league assertion.
“In mild of her findings, the league is reviewing Judge Robinson’s imposition of a six-game suspension and can make a dedication on subsequent steps.”
Watson signed a five-year, $230 million assured contract with the Browns in March amid allegations of sexual misconduct throughout therapeutic massage classes involving greater than 20 girls.
NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk reported that the suspension didn’t embody any extra fantastic.
Watson’s lawyer and representatives of the Browns and the National Football League Players Association couldn’t instantly be reached for remark Monday.
Watson has already missed a substantial period of time on the sector, having not performed for the Houston Texans all of final season as his authorized challenges unfolded and the staff sought to commerce him.
Before the suspension got here down, the National Football League Players Association and Watson mentioned in a joint assertion Sunday that they “will stand by her ruling” and referred to as on “the NFL to do the identical.”
Few, if any, American corporations are extra intently monitored for their dealing with of home violence incidents by staff than the NFL.
Baltimore Ravens operating again Ray Rice was initially suspended for simply two games in 2014 after troubling surveillance video confirmed him knocking out his future spouse and dragging her physique off an elevator.
Rice was ultimately suspended indefinitely however the seemingly mild preliminary self-discipline pressured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to confess: “I did not get it proper. Simply put, we now have to do higher. And we are going to.”
Other notable instances of home violence suspensions in recent times have included: Dallas Cowboys operating again Ezekiel Elliott (six games in 2017), Carolina Panthers defensive finish Greg Hardy (10 games in 2015) and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (4 games in 2018) .
The lawyer representing the ladies accusing Watson of misconduct introduced confidential settlements in 23 of 24 civil lawsuits.
“Today I announce that every one instances in opposition to Deshaun Watson, apart from 4, have been settled. We are working by means of the paperwork associated to these settlements. Once we now have achieved so, these explicit instances shall be dismissed,” legal professional Tony Buzbee, who’s representing the plaintiffs within the case, mentioned in an announcement to NBC News.
“The phrases and quantities of the settlements are confidential. We will not remark additional on the settlements or these instances.”
In his assertion, Buzbee gave credit score to plaintiff Ashley Solis, who was the primary to come back ahead and accuse Watson of sexual misconduct. Solis’ case stays one among 4 unsettled instances.
Buzbee mentioned of the open instances: “Ashley Solis is among the heroes of this story. Her case has not been settled and thus her story and that of the opposite three courageous girls will proceed. I stay up for attempting these instances sooner or later, in keeping with different docket obligations and the court docket’s schedule.”
Buzbee declined to talk substantively about any NFL motion in opposition to Watson.
“I’ve been requested repeatedly about my ideas concerning the NFL’s continuing with Deshaun Watson. Although a few of my shoppers do have sturdy emotions in that regard, I’ve nothing significant to say about that course of,” he mentioned.
“I’ve mentioned at first that the civil course of and the NFL’s disciplinary course of are very totally different. My function was to advance the reason for my shoppers, in civil court docket—nothing extra.”
Watson’s accusers allege that he improperly touched them after hiring them as therapeutic massage therapists and private trainers.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to convey fees in opposition to Watson in March. The district attorneys in each situations didn’t elaborate on why the grand juries declined to indict.
Watson has denied wrongdoing.
His legal professional, Rusty Hardin, mentioned in a June assertion: “Deshaun Watson did nothing flawed. And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing unlawful.”
“Deshaun has all the time acknowledged consensual sexual exercise with three of the plaintiff therapeutic massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn underneath oath that he didn’t power any of his accusers to have sexual contact.”
Watson, a 26-year-old native of Gainesville, Georgia, and Clemson University alumnus, has been within the NFL since 2017. Watson had his finest season in 2020 with the Texans, main the league with 4,823 yards passing together with 33 touchdowns.
A six-game ban would make Watson eligible to play within the Browns’ seventh sport of this upcoming season on Oct. 23 when Cleveland is about to go to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Browns, who traded for the embattled quarterback in March, might be left with journeyman Jacoby Brissett as their beginning sign caller in Watson’s absence.
This is a growing story. Please refresh right here for updates.
Associated Press contributed.