Deshaun Watson will serve an 11-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine for multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy in what amounts to one of the most significant penalties in NFL history.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback and the NFL decided to settle his disciplinary case prior to a final ruling by arbitrator Peter C. Harvey, who was appointed by Roger Goodell after the league appealed his 6-game suspension.
Not everybody agress with the suspension, because it doesn’t really deal with the real problem with Watson.
ESPN’s Michele Steele spoke with a Cleveland area masseuse and got her reaction after the announcement came down.
“Spoke to a 20-year massage therapist in the Cleveland area to get her reaction to mandating “team-approved” massage sessions for Watson: “That doesn’t address the issue in any shape or form. And then what about that person that has to work on them?” (1/2)”
“So are we going to make sure that it’s a male and a male? Is that what we’re going to do? And again, I think there’s more therapy that needs to be done…what is going on that (Watson) has these predatory behaviors?” (2/2)
The settlement also includes mandatory mental health counseling for Watson, and the Browns and the NFL will donate an additional $1 million each to sexual assault prevention programs.
In a statement through the Browns, Watson said “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused.” Team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam also issued a statement.
Watson also spoke to the media Thursday and maintained his innocence.
“I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence, and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone,” Watson said, “but at the same point I have to continue to push forward with my life and career.
“(I apologized) for everybody that was affected by this situation. There were a lot of people that were triggered.”
Watson’s first game back is set to be in Week 13 at his former team, the Houston Texans.