After an extensive investigation, NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson has handed out a 6 game suspension to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Watson settled 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct. Two grand juries have declined to indict Watson on any criminal charges. Watson maintains his innocence and claims that he “never forced anyone to do anything.”
According to Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times, Watson used at least 66 different massage therapists during a 17-month period and that the Texans provided him with a non-disclosure agreement to have them sign prior to massages. On July 15, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made claims or were readying to make claims against the organization for its alleged role in the allegations against Watson.
The NFLPA released a statement on Sunday night in regards to the impending arbitration decision, stating they’ll support Robinson’s ruling regardless of the outcome, while calling on the NFL to do the same. The NFL, however, still has three days to appeal the ruling if they wish to do so. That could be heard by Roger Goodell.
With the suspension, Deshaun Watson will miss the Week 3 meeting between the Steelers and Browns on “Thursday Night Football” in Cleveland. Jacoby Brissett is expected to be the Browns’ starting quarterback until Watson’s suspension is lifted.