Parties involved in the disciplinary hearing for Deshaun Watson have been informed by former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson that the Cleveland Browns quarterback should be suspended six games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per a source.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reports that there will be no additional fine accompanied by the suspension, according to a source.
The NFL Players Association issued a statement on Sunday stating that it would not appeal Robinson’s ruling. Rapoport reported it is currently unclear if the league will appeal the ruling. The NFL has three days to appeal Robinson’s decision.
Any potential appeal to Robinson’s ruling would be handled by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or by his designee, per the 2020 collective bargaining agreement. The ensuing ruling would then be final.
Watson’s suspension follows his three-day hearing in Delaware earlier this summer before Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. The disciplinary hearing concluded on June 30. Rapoport reported Monday that the league presented the cases from five women to Robinson during the hearing.
It was announced on June 21 that Watson had reached confidential settlements with 20 of the 24 women who filed civil lawsuits alleging he committed sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. The initial lawsuits against Watson were filed in March 2021, and the league investigation into the allegations against him commenced that same month Judy Battista on Deshaun Watson case: I would be surprised if the league does not appeal and increase the suspension
Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, reached confidential settlements on July 15 with 30 women who have made or intended to make claims against the organization for allegedly enabling Watson’s behavior during massage therapy sessions.
Pelissero also reported Robinson’s decision requires Watson not to have massages other than ones directed by club personnel.
Watson, 26, has previously denied any wrongdoing and maintained any sex with the women was consensual. Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints filed by 10 women.
“No, like I said I never assaulted anyone,” Watson said on June 14. “I never harassed anyone. I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”
Watson, who has not played since the 2020 season, was traded from the Texans to the Browns in March, and the Browns signed Watson to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract. Watson requested a trade out of Houston following the 2020 season and before the allegations of sexual misconduct against him first surfaced.
The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has been with the Browns throughout their offseason workout program and training camp. Free-agent acquisition Jacoby Brissett is set to start at quarterback for the Browns during Watson’s suspension. The Browns signed former first-round pick Josh Rosen on July 22 to add to their QB room.