UNITED STATES: Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to serve a six-game suspension without pay due to a violation of the Football league’s conduction policy after allegations of sexual misconduct were reported by women during his massage treatments.
However, he will not be fined as announced by disciplinary officer Robinson as ruled on Monday 1 August. He was also ordered that for the duration of his career he would only be allowed club-approved massage therapists, in club-directed sessions and Watson would be eligible to return to Cleveland Browns’ on October 23 for their game at Baltimore.
The National Football League (N.F.L.) released a statement thanking Robinson for her professionalism but left room for the likelihood of appealing the decision, however, the NFL Players Association announced in a statement that it will support Robinson’s ruling and pleaded with the NFL to do the same.
The ruling comes 15 months after a thorough investigation was done due to the allegations made against Watson, then quarterback of the Houston Texans. Deshaun initially denied the allegations and Grand Juries in two Texas counties had rules not to charge Watson criminally.
This case comes on the verge of the backlash being faced by the N.F.L against their treatment of women in the field, therefore this ruling was one for high anticipation. This case also makes history being the first to be tried by a disciplinary officer which was established in 2020.
Watson is one of N.F.L’s most promising players and this situation comes as a shock. To date Deshaun reached settlements with 23 out of the 24 women, however, one woman filed a civil lawsuit against the accused.