Browns' Deshaun Watson Reportedly Willing to Accept 8-Game Suspension, $5M Fine

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

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Cleveland Browns star Deshaun Watson "would accept" a suspension of eight games and a $5 million fine from the NFL, according to the Associated Press' Rob Maaddi and Tom Withers.

Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson initially handed down a six-game ban to Watson for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The league appealed the ruling and is attempting to levy a longer punishment.

The AP report represents a change in tone from Watson's side. Dianna Russini of ESPN reported Aug. 3 that his representatives were "unhappy" with the six-game suspension and "continue to share that Watson did not do anything wrong."

Adding two more games would also be a significant compromise from the NFL. ESPN's Jake Trotter and CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones both reported the league in its appeal is seeking to suspend the three-time Pro Bowler for at least one year.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell justified the position when speaking with reporters Tuesday.

"We've seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence," he said. "There were multiple violations that were egregious, and it was predatory behavior."

Twenty-five women filed civil lawsuits against Watson beginning in March 2021 alleging they were the victims of sexual misconduct, with one case eventually being dropped due to privacy concerns. All but one have been settled.

While two grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, he remained subject to an NFL investigation.

In her report upon concluding the investigation, Robinson wrote that "Mr. Watson's pattern of conduct is more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL." She also instructed him to only schedule massage therapy sessions with team-approved therapists for the remainder of his career.

Because she classified Watson's infractions as "non-violent sexual conduct," however, Robinson determined six games was an appropriate suspension based on past precedent.

Former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey is overseeing the NFL's appeal. Maaddi and Withers noted Harvey's final decision will be binding but could be subject to another appeal by the NFL Players Association in federal court.

Beyond signing Jacoby Brissett, the Browns have so far avoided making any clear contingency plans in preparation for Watson missing most or all of the 2022 season. However, Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reported Thursday the team will weigh up a move for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if Watson's suspension is increased.


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