AP sources: Browns QB Deshaun Watson suspended for 6 games
Cleveland, OH, (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended without pay for six games Monday for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by two dozen women in Texas, two people familiar with the decision said.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been publicly released. Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by women alleging sexual harassment and assault during massage therapy appointments in 2020 and 2021.
The NFL has three days to appeal the decision by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. The NFL Players’ Association already stated it would abide by her ruling. If either side appeals, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates will make the decision, per terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The union then could try to challenge that ruling in federal court.
The league had pushed for an indefinite suspension of at least one year and at least a $5 million fine for the 26-year-old Watson during a three-day hearing before Robinson in June.
Watson can continue to practice and play in exhibition games before his suspension begins the first week of the regular season. He would be eligible to return on Oct. 23 when the Browns play at Baltimore.