Cleveland Browns [Black rapist predator...] QB Deshaun Watson suspended 6 games for violating NFL's personal conduct policy

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Aug 1, 2022, 2:29:42 PMAug 1

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve a six-game
suspension without pay but will not be fined for violating the league's
personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct,
disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson ruled Monday.

Robinson's comprehensive 15-page conclusion stated that although Watson
violated the personal conduct policy, there was not enough evidence to
justify an indefinite suspension.

In her report, Robinson wrote that "the NFL carried its burden to prove,
by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual
assault (as defined by the NFL) against the four therapists identified in
the Report. Mr. Watson violated the Policy in this regard."

The ruling relied on 32 previous suspensions under the league's personal
conduct policy since 2015. In 21 of those instances, the league suspended
the player for six games, including the cases of Derrius Guice and Johnny
Manziel. Greg Hardy was suspended for four games.

The longest suspension -- 10 games for Jarron Jones in 2021 -- involved a
criminal plea and multiple incidents of domestic violence. The two eight-
game suspensions -- of Kareem Hunt in 2019 and Mark Walton in 2020 -- also
took into account multiple incidents of domestic violence.

Robinson ruled that Watson is "to limit his massage therapy to Club-
directed sessions and Club-approved massage therapists for the duration of
his career, and so [I] impose this mandate as a condition to his

She also ruled that Watson is "to have no adverse involvement with law
enforcement, and must not commit any additional violations of the Policy."

Watson is eligible to return for the Browns' Oct. 23 game at Baltimore.

The NFL Players Association, in a statement Sunday night, made it clear
that it will "stand by" Robinson's ruling and urged the NFL to do the

The NFL released a statement Monday saying it would determine whether to

"We thank Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent disciplinary officer, for
her review of the voluminous record and attention during a three-day
hearing that resulted in her finding multiple violations of the NFL
Personal Conduct Policy by Deshaun Watson. We appreciate Judge Robinson's
diligence and professionalism throughout this process," the statement

"Pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL or the NFLPA on
behalf of Watson may appeal the decision within three days. In light of
her findings, the league is reviewing Judge Robinson's imposition of a
six-game suspension and will make a determination on next steps."

Sources close to Watson say they believe six games is too much, but they
respect the decision, sources told ESPN's Dianna Russini.

Either side would 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,'' per terms of Article 46 in the league's collective bargaining

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during
massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. The encounters
alleged in the lawsuits took place from March 2020 to March 2021, while
Watson was a member of the Houston Texans. One of the 25 lawsuits was
dropped following a judge's ruling in April 2021 that the plaintiffs
needed to amend their petitions to disclose their names. In June, Watson
settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits he was facing; on Monday, he agreed to
settle three of the remaining four, according to Houston attorney Tony
Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson.

Buzbee told ESPN's John Barr that Ashley Solis, the first woman to sue
Watson and the first to go public with her name and story, settled her

Last month, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made claims
or were prepared to make them against the organization for its alleged
role regarding the allegations against Watson.

Robinson heard arguments from the league, the 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 players' union 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 they could not agree to a deal.

In the days leading up to Robinson's decision, the league and Watson's
side engaged in further settlement talks, sources told ESPN's Dan
Graziano, but neither side ever felt they were close to an agreement. The
most Watson's side indicated it was willing to offer was a suspension in
the range of six to eight games, according to sources. The best the league
indicated it was willing to offer was a 12-game suspension and a
significant fine -- in the range of $8 million, sources said.

If his suspension is upheld, Watson will still be able to participate in
practices and games during the preseason. He will also be allowed to
return to the Browns to practice during the second half of the suspension,
in Week 4, according to the CBA. But he will not be allowed to be with the
team during the first half of the suspension.

Since no additional fine was levied, Watson is slated to miss six of his
$57,500 game checks in 2022 for a total of $345,000 lost off his $1.035
million base salary. Watson's Browns contract guarantees him a league-high
$230 million, with a base salary that will jump to $46 million in 2023 and
a $44.965 million signing bonus.

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 2021. The league interviewed
Watson over multiple days earlier this summer. The NFL's investigators
also spoke to several of the women.

Watson has continually denied all wrongdoing and said he has no regrets
for any of his actions during the massage sessions. Watson also said he
cooperated with the NFL's investigation and "answered every question
truthfully" that he was asked by the league's investigators.

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round draft
picks to the Texans. Cleveland then gave Watson a new five-year contract,
the richest deal in NFL history for any player.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said at the start of training camp last week
that 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 following Robinson's ruling.

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