UNITED STATES: Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson has been given a longer suspension — 11 games — as well as a $5 million fine and a “professional evaluation by behavioural experts” as well as their recommended treatment programme.
Deshaun Watson, quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, was suspended for six games without pay on August 1 for violating the National Football League’s (NFL) personal conduct policy.
After the league and the NFL Players Association agreed on the discipline, the NFL announced Watson’s suspension on Thursday.
This was in response to more than a dozen women who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct during massage treatments against him.
However, following widespread criticism that the punishment was insufficient, the NFL filed an appeal just two days later.
In conversation with the media, Watson stated, “I’m moving on with my career and my life, and I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence,” he continued, “Just because settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean that person is guilty of anything.”
He feels that a person should have the opportunity to “stand on his innocence and prove it”.
Approximately twenty-four civil lawsuits have been filed against Deshaun Watson, of which 23 have been settled privately. Previously, two grand juries in Texas have ruled not to charge Watson criminally; however, Watson did violate the NFL’s personal conduct policy with massage therapists while he was signed to the Houston Texans.
On Thursday, Susan Haslam, co-owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced that they vow to invest $1 million towards educating youths on awareness of sexual misconduct. She stated, “We as an organization and as individuals have tremendous empathy for the women involved, and we have an opportunity to make a difference in this community.”
“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has concluded, and I’m extremely grateful for the tremendous support I’ve received throughout my brief time with the Browns organization,” Watson said.