Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been handed a six-game ban by an independent referee for dozens of sexual misconduct allegations dating back to his time with the Houston Texans.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report the news on Monday. An NFL spokesperson did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation.
The NFL and players’ union have three days to appeal the decision of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, a former federal judge, but that process would be handled by league commissioner Roger Goodell or someone appointed by him. .
Unwilling to leave the final decision in the hands of the league, the NFLPA released a statement on Sunday saying it would respect Robinson’s decision and implored the NFL to do the same: ‘…regardless of his decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by his decision and we call on the NFL to do the same.
Monday’s suspension came to light after Watson reached settlements with three other accusers, leaving him facing just one final trial after being sued by 25 women, one of whom dropped his case. Specific dollar figures for the 23 colonies have not been disclosed.
The 26-year-old quarterback is accused of sexually assaulting and harassing Houston-area massage therapists between 2019 and 2021 while a member of the Texans.
The NFL hoped Watson would be fined around $8 million, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, but Robinson decided to waive a fine. However, by missing eight games, Watson will lose an estimated $345,000 in salary from his $230 million extension he signed with the Browns in March.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, left, poses for a photo with Tanner Hall after signing one of his cleats after NFL football practice in Berea, Ohio
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson signs autographs after Friday practice
The settlements were announced by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represented the 25 plaintiffs, including a woman who dropped her lawsuit against Watson.
“After lengthy and intense negotiations, I can confirm that, late last night, our team resolved three of the four remaining civil matters with Deshaun Watson,” Buzbee said in a statement provided to DailyMail.com. “We will continue to discuss the remaining case with Watson’s legal team as appropriate.”
Buzbee did not identify the women who settled with Watson.
Watson was specifically accused of forcing two women to perform oral sex on him, ejaculating on three women and forcibly kissing another, while 18 women say he touched them with his penis during massages .
Although he has now settled 23 of 24 lawsuits, Watson has denied any wrongdoing and two Texas grand juries have declined to bring charges against him.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee (left) and Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin (right)
Earlier, in July, the Texans reached confidential settlements with 30 women who made allegations against Watson, including accusers who did not file charges against him.
The NFL club was accused of enabling Watson by allegedly ignoring his behavior and securing him a membership at a local hotel and club, where he allegedly harassed and sexually assaulted massage therapists.
One of his accusers, Toi Garner, filed a lawsuit against the Texans in June, which Buzbee said would be the first of many. However, before those lawsuits could be filed, the team reached an agreement with the 24 plaintiffs and six other unidentified women who declared their intention to file a lawsuit against the Texas organization.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then franchise quarterback in March 2021,” read a statement from the McNair family, owners of the team.
“Although our organization had no knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter informally.” This is not an admission of wrongdoing, but rather a clear stand against all forms of sexual assault and misconduct.
Some of Watson’s accusers are pictured in a Texas courtroom, where the first of two grand juries declined to press charges of sexual misconduct against the NFL star.
In a July statement, Buzbee said Garner’s lawsuit would be dismissed with prejudice “as soon as the appropriate settlement documents are completed.”
“I have no further comment on the allegations or the alleged role of the Texans, other than to say that there is a stark contrast in the way the Texans have approached these allegations and the way the Watson’s team did it,” Buzbee said in the statement.
The New York Times reported in June that Watson dated at least 66 different women over 17 months while playing for the Texans. Previously, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, estimated he had appointments with about 40 massage therapists during his five seasons with the Texans.
Not all of the women accused Watson of sexual misconduct, and 15 issued statements of support in his favor at the request of his lawyer.
Following the publication of the Times article, the Texans were added as a defendant in the sexual misconduct lawsuits for allegedly facilitating the massages. The NFL club was accused of securing Watson a membership at a local hotel and a private club, the Houstonian, where some of the massages allegedly took place.
A woman, who massaged Watson at the hotel but is not identified in the article, told the Times that she was told the room they were using was “registered by a member of the training staff of the Texas”.
Several of the massage therapists allegedly met Watson at a local hotel and a private club, the Houstonian, where the Texans allegedly secured him a membership.