Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games Monday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy The Associated Press.
Watson signed a five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns in March amid allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions involving more than 20 women.
profootballtalk.com also reported the suspension, adding that there was no other fine in the discipline.
Watson’s attorney and representatives from the NFL, the Cleveland Browns and the National Football League Players Association could not be immediately reached for comment Monday morning.
Watson has already missed a significant amount of time on the field and did not play the entirety of last season for the Houston Texans as his legal challenges and the team unfolded wanted to trade him.
retired federal judge Sue L.Robinson chaired the disciplinary hearing and issued the decision.
Before the suspension was lifted, the National Football League Players Association and Watson issued a joint statement on Sunday, saying they “will stand by their decision” and “calling on the NFL to do the same.”
The attorney representing the women alleging misconduct by Watson announced confidential settlements in 20 of 24 civil lawsuits in June.
“Today I announce that all but four cases against Deshaun Watson have been resolved. We are going through the paperwork related to these settlements. Once we have done so, these particular cases will be dismissed,” attorney Tony Buzbee, representing the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement to NBC News.
“The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We will not comment further on the settlements or these cases.”
In his testimony, Buzbee paid tribute to plaintiff Ashley Solis, who first came forward and accused Watson of sexual misconduct. The Solis case remains one of four unsolved cases.
Speaking of the open cases, Buzbee said: “Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story. Her case is not yet settled and so will her story and that of the other three brave women continue. I look forward to hearing these cases in due course, consistent with other filing requirements and the court’s timetable.”
Watson’s accusers allege he improperly touched her after hiring her as a massage therapist and personal trainer.
Two Texas grand juries declined to bring charges against Watson in March. Prosecutors at both instances did not elaborate on why the grand juries declined to bring charges.
Watson has denied wrongdoing.
His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a June statement: “Deshaun Watson has done nothing wrong. And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing illegal.”
“Deshaun has always admitted to consensual sexual activity with three of the complaining massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn under oath that he never coerced any of his accusers into sexual intercourse.”
Watson, a 26-year-old native of Gainesville, Georgia and a graduate of Clemson University, was in the NFL since 2017. Watson had his best season with the Texans in 2020, leading the league with 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns.
The Associated Press and David K Li contributed.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/cleveland-browns-quarterback-deshaun-watson-suspended-nfl-6-games-rcna35495 Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six games