Deshaun Watson suspended six games for violating NFL’s personal conduct policy
An independent judge weighed in on the dispute between league officials and the NFL Players Association
Deshaun Watson will reportedly serve a six-game suspension this season after a judge ruled Monday that the quarterback had violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Watson, who started his career with the Houston Texans but was traded to the Cleveland Browns this offseason, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women.
Watson “was suspended six games; he was not fined, per source,” tweeted Schefter, who works for ESPN.
The ruling was handed down by former U.S. district court Judge Sue L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed to oversee the disciplinary case by the league and the NFL Players Association. “She conducted a three-day hearing in Delaware that concluded June 30, then had each side submit a post-hearing brief,” The Washington Post reported.
In anticipation of the ruling coming Monday, the players association tweeted Sunday that they would “stand by” the decision, regardless of what it said. “We call on the NFL to do the same,” the statement read, which was joined by Watson.
The NFL has three days to decide whether to appeal Robinson’s decision. In a statement, the league thanked the judge for her work.
"The league is reviewing Judge Robinson's imposition of a six-game suspension and will make a determination on next steps," the statement said.
Watson has denied the allegations against him, and he “has not been charged with a crime,” the Post reported. But in her ruling, Robinson made his reinstatement contingent on his agreement to limit his massage therapy visits to team-approved and team-directed appointments. (The sexual misconduct accusations stem from Watson's independent dealings with massage therapists in the Houston area.)
"Recognizing that the only discipline mentioned in the CBA is a fine or suspension, I nevertheless believe it is appropriate for Mr. Watson to limit his massage therapy to club-directed sessions and club-approved massage therapists for the duration of his career," Robinson wrote.