Editors’ note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.
Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer appointed by the NFL and players association, ruled Deshaun Watson should be suspended for six games in 2022, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer. With the suspension come financial ramifications for Watson.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Watson was not fined. He will also lose only a minuscule portion of his contract due to the structure of his $230 million deal with Cleveland. 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. After this year, Watson’s salary jumps to $46 million in ’23 with a $44.965 million signing bonus, per ESPN.
The proposed punishment comes after the league’s investigation into the sexual harassment and assault allegations concerning the Browns’ quarterback that lasted well over a year. More than two dozen women have detailed graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions with Watson. The accounts range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.”
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Twenty-five women filed civil lawsuits against Watson starting in March 2021, and only one dropped her case due to privacy concerns in April ’21. Watson then agreed to settle 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits in June ’22. Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, announced the news, saying the terms and amounts agreed to are confidential and “we won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
Watson reportedly settled three of the remaining four civil cases against him ahead of Monday’s disciplinary decision. The quarterback has denied all allegations against him, and two Texas grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges earlier this spring.
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