Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six games with no additional fine for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct, multiple reports stated on Monday morning.
The ruling comes as Watson reportedly settled three of the four remaining civil lawsuits alleged him.
The NFL players’ union, in a statement Sunday night, made it clear that it will “stand by” Robinson’s ruling and urged the NFL to do the same.
Either side would have three days to appeal former Judge Sue L. Robinson’s decision in writing. In that case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the CBA.
The league sought an indefinite ban of Watson with a minimum of a full season after the quarterback was accused of sexual assault and inappropriate misconduct through 25 civil lawsuits. The encounters cited in the suits occurred between March 2020 to March 2021, while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans. One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped following a judge’s ruling in April 2021, and in June, Watson settled 20 of the then-24 lawsuits he was facing.
On Monday, he agreed to settle three of the remaining four, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee.
Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and its players’ union as the independent arbiter for the case, says Watson’s “pattern of behavior was egregious,” but noted that behavior was “nonviolent sexual conduct” in explaining the decision to suspend him six games, according to reports.
Robinson also included a requirement that Watson only receives massages from Browns personnel.
Watson would be eligible to return for the Browns in Week 7 – an Oct. 23 road matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Jacoby Brissett is expected to start in Watson’s absence for Cleveland, whose season begins with a Sep. 11 start in Carolina against former quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Panthers.