August 15, 2022

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8:24 AM ET Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve a six-game suspension for violating...

8:24 AM ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve a six-game suspension for violating the league’s private conduct coverage following accusations of sexual misconduct, disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson dominated Monday, a supply informed ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Watson is not going to be fined, the supply informed Schefter.

Robinson’s complete 15-page conclusion said that although Watson violated the private conduct coverage, there was not sufficient proof to justify an indefinite suspension, a supply informed ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Watson is eligible to return for the Browns’ Oct. 23 recreation at Baltimore.

The NFL Gamers Affiliation, in an announcement Sunday evening, made it clear that it’s going to “stand by” Robinson’s ruling and urged the NFL to do the identical.

Sources near Watson consider six video games is an excessive amount of, however they respect the choice, sources informed ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

Both aspect would have three days to submit an enchantment in writing. In that case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will difficulty a written choice that may represent full, last and full disposition of the dispute,” per phrases of Article 46 within the league’s collective bargaining settlement.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct throughout therapeutic massage periods in civil lawsuits filed by 25 girls. The encounters cited within the lawsuits passed off between March 2020 and March 2021, whereas Watson was a member of the Houston Texans. One of many 25 lawsuits was dropped following a choose’s ruling in April 2021 that the plaintiffs wanted to amend their petitions to reveal their names. In June, Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits he was dealing with; on Monday, he agreed to settle three of the remaining 4, based on Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represents the ladies suing Watson.

Buzbee informed ESPN’s John Barr that Ashley Solis, the primary lady to sue Watson and the primary to go public with her title and story, did settle her case.

Final month, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made claims or had been ready to make claims in opposition to the group for its alleged function concerning the allegations in opposition to Watson.

Robinson heard arguments from the league, the union and Watson’s lawyer throughout a three-day listening to held in her dwelling state of Delaware in late June. The NFL had been pushing for a suspension of at the least a yr, whereas the gamers’ union and Watson’s lawyer argued that the quarterback shouldn’t be suspended in any respect. The edges mentioned a possible settlement all the way in which up by way of the listening to, however they might not comply with a deal.

Within the days main as much as Robinson’s choice, the league and Watson’s aspect engaged in additional settlement talks, sources informed ESPN’s Dan Graziano, however neither aspect ever felt they had been near an settlement. Essentially the most Watson’s aspect indicated it was keen to supply was a suspension within the vary of six to eight video games, based on sources. The most effective the league indicated it was keen to supply was a 12-game suspension and a big fantastic — within the vary of $Eight million, sources mentioned.

If his suspension is upheld, Watson will nonetheless be capable of take part in practices and video games throughout the preseason. He will even be allowed to return to the Browns to observe throughout the second half of the suspension, in Week 4, based on the CBA. However he is not going to be allowed to be with the staff throughout the first half of the suspension.

Since no extra fantastic was levied, Watson is slated to overlook six of his $57,500 recreation checks in 2022 for a complete of $345,000 misplaced off his $1.035 million base wage. Watson’s Browns contract will assure him a league-high $230 million, with a base wage that may soar to $46 million in 2023 and a $44.965 million signing bonus.

Though two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue prison prices in opposition to Watson earlier this yr, the NFL has been investigating whether or not he violated its private conduct coverage since 2021. The NFL interviewed Watson over a number of days earlier this summer season. The league’s investigators additionally spoke to a number of of the ladies.

Watson has frequently denied all wrongdoing and mentioned he has no regrets for any of his actions throughout the therapeutic massage periods. Watson additionally mentioned he cooperated with the NFL’s investigation and “answered each query honestly” that he was requested 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 brand new five-year contract price $230 million totally assured, the richest deal in NFL historical past for any participant.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski mentioned at first of coaching camp final week that Jacoby Brissett would grow to be Cleveland’s starter within the occasion of a Watson suspension. By the primary week of camp, Watson took nearly all of the snaps with the first-team offense, however Stefanski indicated the Browns “might alter” their plan following Robinson’s ruling.

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