Deshaun Watson will serve an 11-game unpaid suspension, pay a $5 million fine and undergo professional evaluation and treatment as part of a settlement with the NFL following accusations of sexual misconduct by two dozen women.
The league had sought to ban Watson for at least one year for violating its personal conduct policy. The Cleveland Browns quarterback was accused of sexually harassing and coercing the women during massage therapy sessions while he played for the Houston Texans. After being traded, Watson signed a $230 million fully guaranteed contract and will lose $632,500 in salary this season while serving the suspension, which takes effect Aug. 30.
When it comes to future massages, the Browns already have a plan in place, according to the GM.
“GM Andrew Berry said the team put together a plan as soon as they traded for Deshaun Watson about how he would get future massages for any soft-tissue injuries.
He did not specify if they are male or female. Owner Jimmy Haslam said the therapists will be team-approved.”
“My whole life I just have to be able to move forward and that’s the plan,” Watson said shortly after the settlement became public. “I have to be able to move forward with my career, move forward with my family, my personal life and everything.”
The settlement ends months of speculation and headed off a ruling from former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey, who was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league appealed a six-game suspension issued by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson.
As part of the settlement, Watson may return for the Browns’ game on Dec. 4 in Houston.