Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson may be suspended for 11 games, but he has to meet one requirement in order to be reinstated by the NFL.
A decision has been made regarding the suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and assault. After appealing the initial six-game suspension, the NFL revealed that Watson is now being suspended for 11 games, in addition to receiving a $5 million fine.
Even with this decision, there is one contingency that he must meet for him to return. Per ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, Watson must meet the evaluation and treatment recommendations of a third-party behavioral expert. If Watson does not do so, “reinstatement could be delayed, plus further discipline.”
Deshaun Watson’s reinstatement contingent on one requirement
Initially, disciplinary officer and former judge Sue Robinson determined that Watson should be suspended for six games, but did not include a fine in her final decision. The NFL appealed the decision shortly afterward with former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey was in charge of the appeals ruling.
Watson faced criminal and civil lawsuits stemming from the allegations made by women who alleged that Watson committed sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions. The criminal suits were dropped, while he reached settlements on 23 of the 24 civil suits.
During a press conference, Watson was adamant that despite the fact that he settled the aforementioned lawsuits and the 11-game suspension, he maintains his innocence.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in that press conference that Watson deserves a second chance and that he has no regrets about trading for Watson earlier this year.
“I think in this country and hopefully in the world, people deserve second chances, OK. I really think that,” Haslam said, h/t the New York Post. “I struggle a little bit. Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be a part of society? Does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? That’s what we’re gonna do, OK.
“You can say that’s because he’s a star quarterback. Well, of course. But if he was Joe Smith he wouldn’t be [in] the headlines every day. We think people deserve a second chance. We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and that’s worked out pretty well.”
For Watson to return for the Browns in Week 13 against the Houston Texans, he will have to complete the recommended treatment plan.