Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will begin a disciplinary hearing Tuesday amid the NFL's investigation into allegations of sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news Saturday. He also noted that the NFL and NFL Players Association jointly appointed former United States District Court Judge Sue L. Robinson as the disciplinary officer for the hearing.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson over the allegations, announced Tuesday that 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits against the quarterback have been settled:
"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won't comment further on the settlements or those cases."
Nakia Cooper of KPRC 2 in Houston reported June 13 that two more lawsuits would be filed against Watson, which would have brought the total number up to 26. It's unclear where things stand with those additional lawsuits at this point.
Per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, one of the two women who contacted Buzbee's firm "was compelled to come forward" after watching a Real Sports on HBO segment featuring two of Watson's accusers.
Per a June 17 report from Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL intends to argue for a "significant" suspension for Watson. One person on Watson's side of the case told Maske the league will "probably" ask for a one-year ban under the personal-conduct policy.
According to CBS Sports HQ's Josina Anderson, negotiations between the league, NFLPA and Watson's advisers about the possible number of games missed "fell apart" because they were not on the same page.
The process for player discipline under the personal-conduct policy changed when the new collective bargaining agreement was implemented in March 2020. The NFL and NFLPA jointly agree to appoint a disciplinary officer.
After the disciplinary officer renders a decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, or his designee, still retains the power to "overturn, reduce, modify or increase the discipline previously issued," and the decision will be "final and binding on all parties."
In the event the disciplinary officer issues no discipline, Goodell or his designee doesn't have the ability to alter that decision and implement a suspension.
Watson is entering his first season with the Browns. He was acquired March 20 in a trade with the Texans. The 26-year-old signed a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract extension with Cleveland.