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104 views • August 19, 2022

Cleveland Browns Quarterback Deshaun Watson Suspended 11 Games

NTD News
NTD News
BEREA, Ohio—Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve an 11-game unpaid suspension, pay a $5 million fine and undergo professional evaluation and treatment as part of a settlement with the NFL following accusations of sexual misconduct by two dozen women. The league had sought to ban Watson for at least one year for violating its personal conduct policy. He was accused of sexually harassing and coercing the women during massage therapy sessions while he was with the Houston Texans. Watson signed a $230 million fully guaranteed contract after being traded to the Browns in March. Because the team structured Watson's deal so he'll make $1.035 million in his first season, he'll lose $632,500 in salary during the suspension. As part of the settlement, Watson can return for the Browns’ game in Houston on Dec. 4. “My whole life I just have to be able to move forward and that’s the plan,” Watson said shortly after the settlement became public. “I have to be able to move forward with my career, move forward with my family, my personal life and everything.” The settlement ends months of speculation and headed off a ruling from former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey, who was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league appealed a six-game suspension issued by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. As part of the settlement between the league and the NFL Players Association, Watson will have to be evaluated by behavioral experts and follow their treatment program. Watson apologized last week before the Browns' preseason opener for the first time since the allegations surfaced. He tried to offer more contrition Thursday while maintaining he never has been inappropriate with women. “I’ve always stood on my innocence and always said that I’ve never assaulted anyone or disrespected anyone and I’m continuing to stand on that," he said. “But at the same time, I have to continue to push forward with my life and my career. "I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence and keep pushing forward, and I’ve always stood on not disrespecting or sexually assaulting anyone.” Along with his $5 million fine, the league and Browns are donating $1 million each to a fund that will support nonprofit organizations across the country to educate young people on “healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes." Watson can practice until the suspension begins on Aug. 30, but coach Kevin Stefanski said he will not play in any preseason games. He won’t be allowed to return to the team’s facility until Nov. 28. Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all 24 women who sued Watson, was critical of the NFL’s handling of the case and settlement. “By settling this matter the way he has, Roger Goodell has proven one of two things: Either his recent rhetoric was utter baloney, or his bark is much worse than his bite,” Buzbee said in a statement. “My belief is that he is nothing more than a paper tiger. “The message today to all victims is clear, if you believe you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and go away. The NFL has certainly demonstrated that its ownership and the organization doesn’t care." Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who have been widely criticized for trading for Watson, stood by the QB. They said they expect him to learn and grow from the experience. “Since Deshaun came into our building in April, he has done everything we have asked of him and more,” Jimmy Haslam said at a news briefing with his wife and Browns general manager Andrew Berry. "And he has been the person, the leader that we expect him to be and I think he understands where he is in his life, it’s a pivotal point, and we as an organization are going to do everything we can to help him not only be the best football player he can be but more important to be the best person he can be.” Haslam was asked if he's still comfortable with Watson being on Cleveland's roster. “Absolutely,” he said. “100 percent.” Dee Haslam was
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