Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been penalized by the NFL for his sexual misconduct case, and it’s no small fine.
Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women during massage therapy sessions between 2020 and 2021, according to PBS. This alleged misconduct happened during his time with the Houston Texans, where he spent four seasons. He was then traded to the Browns in March 2022. The athlete would settle 23 of the 24 lawsuits these women filed against him.
According to PBS, the NFL’s league disciplinary commissioner, former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, also provided a 215-page report into Watson’s alleged conduct. The report included testimony from four of 12 women interviewed by League investigators. Robinson called the sexual misconduct report “more egregious than any previously reviewed by the NFL.” As a result, Watson would face a six-game suspension. However, the NFL has now agreed on a tougher punishment for the star quarterback.
Deshaun Watson was ordered to pay the NFL $5 million
According to the New York Times, the NFL appealed Sue L. Robinson’s decision to impose harsher sentences on the allegations against Deshaun Watson. The footballer now has to pay a $5 million fine to the league. These funds will be donated to groups focused on sexual assault awareness and prevention. The Cleveland Browns and the NFL will also each donate $1 million. Initially pushed for a year’s suspension, league officials also imposed an 11-game ban on Watson. In addition to these penalties, the quarterback must be evaluated by behavior experts and undergo a treatment program.
During a press conference captured by WKYC, Watson maintained his innocence but accepted the punishment to move forward. “I’ve always said I’ve never attacked or disrespected anyone and I still stand by that,” the quarterback said. “But at the same time, I have to keep moving forward with my life and career.” Watson also apologized to everyone affected by the situation.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, help is available to help. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact the RAINN National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).