Deshaun Watson reaches settlement with NFL for 11-game suspension

August 19, 2022
There was finally a resolution yesterday to the controversy surrounding Cleveland Browns quarterback (QB) Deshaun Watson.
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SOURCE: NICK CAMMETT/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: NICK CAMMETT/GETTY IMAGES

Content warning: This section contains mention of sexual assault.

The GIST: There was finally a resolution yesterday to the controversy surrounding Cleveland Browns quarterback (QB) Deshaun Watson, who’s faced multiple sexual assault allegations. Spoiler alert: it’s not a happy one.

The context: Following the NFL’s investigation into Watson’s behavior, independent Disciplinary Officer Judge Sue L. Robinson handed the QB a six-game suspension (and notably levied no fine against him) earlier this month.

  • But the NFL appealed that suspension, with Commissioner Roger Goodell assigning Peter C. Harvey, a former attorney general with experience in sexual misconduct cases, to make the final decision.
  • Many expected (and hoped) Harvey would rule in favor of at least a season-long suspension, the length the NFL reportedly advocated for.

The settlement: Instead, Watson and the league reached a settlement yesterday, prior to Harvey’s ruling, in which the QB will serve an 11-game suspension (out of 17 regular season games), undergo a professional evaluation and treatment plan and pay a $5M fine, the largest player fine in NFL history.

  • That 11-game suspension means Watson can return in Week 13 against…the Houston Texans, the former squad he requested a trade from back in 2021 before sitting out the season due to the misconduct allegations. What a coincidence.

The bigger picture: Many *raises hand* were dismayed by the league once again failing when it comes to cases involving violence against women. And this example is particularly infuriating considering Watson continues to show zero remorse, saying yesterday, “I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence.”

  • The league will use the $5M fine (along with an additional $2M contributed by them and the Browns) to invest in nonprofits that prevent sexual misconduct and assault, but writing a check won’t make this problem go away.
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