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On Monday a judge ruled Cleveland Browns Quarterback, Deshaun Watson, has been suspended six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled that Watson would be suspended for six games after two dozen civil lawsuits were filed alleging he committed sexual misconduct during massage sessions.
Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women dating from March 2020 through March 2021. At the time, Watson was a member of the Houston Texans but was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March 2022 and given a new five-year contract worth $230 million guaranteed. It’s the richest deal for any player in NFL history.
The Houston Texans settled last month with 30 women who made claims or were prepared to make claims against the team for its alleged role regarding sexual misconduct allegations.
Watson has settled confidentially with 23 of the 24 women who filed civil suits against him.
NFL’s Suspension History
Judge Robinson was brought in by the NFL and NFL’s Players Association as a disciplinary officer after years of discipline and suspensions being handed down solely by league commissioner Roger Goodell.
Many have criticized the NFL’s suspension process over the years, including players, since the entire disciplinary process was handled by Goodell.
Recently, Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended by Goodell for the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games. Ridley was away from the team addressing mental health concerns and made a parlay bet on games.
Robinson heard arguments from both Watson and the NFL during a three-day hearing in June where the league was pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least a year, while the NFLPA argued that Watson should not be suspended at all.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and after the hearing with Robinson said that he “did everything they asked me to do, and answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.”
The NFLPA said in a statement that they stand by Judge Robinson’s decision and urged the NFL to do the same. The NFL has three days to submit a written appeal. If the NFL does submit an appeal, Goodell or a designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute.”