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Deshaun Watson saga ends with 11-game suspension

After multiple lawsuits, court appearances, and a messy process, the Deshaun Watson saga has ended with a suspension without pay for the first 11 games of the 2022 regular season and a $5 million fine for violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Watson was accused of sexual misconduct involving several massage therapists.

In addition, Watson will promptly undergo a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program. The announcement comes after an agreement reached by the NFL and the NFLPA and concludes the disciplinary process.

On August 1, Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent Disciplinary Officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA, found that Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy on multiple occasions. She suspended him for six games.

The CBA affords the NFL or NFLPA the right to appeal the discipline imposed by the Disciplinary Officer. The NFL’s disciplinary action concludes the process and there will be no designee ruling or additional legal steps.

Watson’s fine and contributions from the NFL and the Browns of $1 million each will create a fund of $7 million. This fund will support the work of non-profit organizations across the country that educate young people on healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell stated. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”

With all of this brewing, Watson has been participating in training camp with the Cleveland Browns and played in their first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I’m moving on with my career, with my life and I continue to stand on my innocence,” Watson said after the punishment was made public. “Just because settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean that person is guilty for anything. I feel like a person has the opportunity to stand on his innocence and prove that and we proved that on the legal side.”

Watson’s suspension will take effect at the final roster cutdown and he will be eligible for reinstatement on November 28. Ironically, making a return to face his former team, the Houston Texans.