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Deshaun Watson: NFL suspends Cleveland Browns quarterback six games after sexual misconduct allegations

Deshaun Watson played for the Houston Texans for four seasons before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in March; the 26-year-old quarterback recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by massage therapists alleging sexual harassment and assault during massage sessions in 2020 and 2021

Last Updated: 01/08/22 2:27pm


Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended for six games of the 2022 NFL season

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended by the NFL for six games of the 2022 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.

The 26-year-old was accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in Texas who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been publicly released.

Watson, who played for four seasons with the Houston Texans before being traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by massage therapists alleging sexual harassment and assault during massage sessions in 2020 and 2021.

Watson has maintained he is innocent throughout the process.

New Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson claims he has never assaulted or disrespected any women following sexual misconduct allegations and civil suits

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New Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson claims he has never assaulted or disrespected any women following sexual misconduct allegations and civil suits

New Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson claims he has never assaulted or disrespected any women following sexual misconduct allegations and civil suits

The outcome is less than the full season ban Calvin Ridley was handed this offseason for breaking NFL betting rules, while NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero has reported that there will be no additional fine accompanied with the suspension, per a source.

  • Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins received a six-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drugs violation.
  • Receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended a total of 78 games by the NFL since entering the league in 2012 due to violations of their drug policy.
  • Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the full 2022 season for betting on games.
  • Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress got a four-game ban after accidentally shooting himself in the leg with a firearm.
  • Vincent Jackson was suspended for three games for driving a vehicle knowingly with a suspended license.

Monday’s ruling came from NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. The players’ union, in a statement on Sunday night, made it clear that it will “stand by” Robinson’s ruling and urged the NFL to do the same.

Either side have three days to submit an appeal in writing. In that case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute.”

Robinson heard arguments from the league, union and Watson’s attorney during a three-day hearing held in her home state of Delaware in late June. The NFL had been pushing for a suspension of at least a year, while the NFLPA and Watson’s attorney argued that the quarterback should not be suspended at all. The sides discussed a potential settlement all the way up through the hearing, but could not agree to a deal.

If his suspension is upheld, Watson will still be able to participate in practice during the preseason. He will also be allowed to return to the Browns to practice during the second half of the suspension. But he will not be allowed to be with the team during the first half of the suspension.

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start in place of Watson for the period of his suspension

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will start in place of Watson for the period of his suspension

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL has been investigating whether he violated its personal conduct policy since last year.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said at the start of training camp that back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett would become Cleveland’s starter in the event of a Watson suspension.

Through the first week of camp, Watson took the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense, but Stefanski indicated the Browns “may adjust” their plan in the wake of Robinson’s ruling.



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