Barring an appeal by the NFL or the NFL Players Association, Deshaun Watson will be the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns in Week 7.


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According to ESPN, Watson was suspended for six games without pay for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson handed down the punishment on Monday.

In a 16-page report, Watson noted the NFL recommended Watson to be suspended for the entirety of the forthcoming season. Now, the league and the Players Association are on the clock, having until this Thursday at 9 a.m. ET to appeal the ruling. The union has already expressed to stand next to Robinson’s decision.

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In documents, Robinson stated Watson did “not fall into the category of violent conduct that would require the minimum 6-game suspension,” which signals “by far the most commonly-imposed discipline for domestic or gendered violence and sexual acts.”

Watson was at practice Monday after the decision was made and received cheers from fans viewing training camp. Brown’s ownership would release a statement.

“We respect Judge Robinson’s decision, and at the same time, empathize and understand that there have been many individuals triggered throughout this process,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement Monday. “We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field, and we will continue to support him.”

Watson faced 24 civil lawsuits. 20 of the 24 civil actions against him were settled. According to a statement from Southeast Texas attorney Tony Buzbee, Watson settled all but four of the sexual misconduct lawsuits. Lawsuit No. 24 featured graphic details.

According to ESPN, the plaintiff stated she massaged Watson twice. The first session was cut short due to a phone call, but during the second one, Watson exposed himself and masturbated in front of her. Afterward, Watson did not apologize or explain. Instead, he got up and left. After the event, the plaintiff quit massage therapy.

“Today we filed the twenty-fourth case alleging sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson,” the attorney for all 24 plaintiffs, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement. “The allegations made in this new case are strikingly similar to those made by many of the other victims. Lost in the media frenzy surrounding Deshaun Watson is that these are twenty-four strong, courageous women who, despite ridicule, legal shenanigans, and intense media scrutiny, continue to stand firm for what is right.”

In response, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, stated that “happy endings” are common in massage sessions and are not illegal. He also said Watson engaged in three consensual sex events.

In March 2021, Cleveland Browns announced Sunday that they traded for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, giving up three first-round picks, a 2023 third-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick for the QB, and a 2024 fifth-rounder.

Six of Watson’s $57,500 game checks in 2022 are expected to be missed, costing him $345,000 off his $1.035 million base pay. In addition to a basic salary that will increase to $46 million in 2023 and a $44.965 million signing bonus, Watson’s contract with the Browns includes a league-high $230 million guarantee for him.

Reactions from the Watson decision are below.