Deshaun Watson: Cleveland Browns quarterback suspended for 11 games and fined $5m following NFL appeal

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Deshaun Watson’s initial ban has been extended and his fine will be supplemented by contributions of $1m from the NFL and Browns to organisations helping to educate on healthy relationships; Watson: “My focus going forward is to become the best version of myself on and off the field”

Last Updated: 18/08/22 7:57pm

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Deshaun Watson continues to declare his innocence despite reaching a settlement with the NFL to serve an 11-game unpaid suspension and pay a $5 million fine following accusations of sexual misconduct

Deshaun Watson continues to declare his innocence despite reaching a settlement with the NFL to serve an 11-game unpaid suspension and pay a $5 million fine following accusations of sexual misconduct

Deshaun Watson has been suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 season without pay and fined $5m after the NFL appealed the initial six-game ban handed to the Cleveland Browns quarterback following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Watson’s initial suspension has been extended by five games following the appeal and his fine will be supplemented by contributions of $1m from the NFL and Cleveland Browns to create a fund of $7m to support non-profit organisations which educate young people on healthy relationships, promote education and prevent sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors and related causes.

The Associated Press reported Watson reached a settlement with the NFL and will serve the 11-game suspension and pay the $5m fine rather than risk missing his first season with the Browns.

“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and am extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organisation,” Watson said.

“I apologise once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my team-mates however possible while I am away from the team. I am excited for what the future holds for me and Cleveland.”

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Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says Deshaun Watson deserves a second chance following the announcement he will be punished by the NFL following allegations of sexual misconduct

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says Deshaun Watson deserves a second chance following the announcement he will be punished by the NFL following allegations of sexual misconduct

The 26-year-old was subject to 24 lawsuits, 23 of which he has settled, alleging sexual assault and inappropriate misconduct during massage sessions that took place during his time with the Houston Texans between March 2020 and March 2021.

Watson was cleared of criminal charges by two grand juries in Texas before former US district Judge Sue L Robinson issued a six-game ban but no additional fine for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after being appointed by the league and the NFLPA as an independent disciplinary officer.

The NFL subsequently appealed the decision in pursuit of an indefinite suspension, with commissioner Roger Goodell appointing former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C Harvey to provide a “full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

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Highlights from the NFL Preseason Week 1 game between the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars

Highlights from the NFL Preseason Week 1 game between the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars

Watson, who sat out the 2021 campaign, has maintained his innocence throughout but recently apologised to “to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation”.

The three-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $230m fully guaranteed deal with the Browns in March after being acquired as part of a trade that saw the Texans receiver three first-round picks.

He made his debut for Cleveland in their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, finishing one of five passing for seven yards in a brief cameo.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell stated. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”

Thursday’s announcement concludes the process and there will be no designee ruling or additional legal steps.

Watson’s suspension will take effect at the final roster cutdown and he will be eligible for reinstatement on November 28.

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