Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has agreed to an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine, which was part of his settlement with the NFL.
Watson, who recently apologized for the first time since the allegations surfaced, spoke to reporters after the settlement was announced. He offered more contrition while maintaining he never has been inappropriate with women.
“I’ve always stood on my innocence and always said that I’ve never assaulted anyone or disrespected anyone and I’m continuing to stand on that,” he said. “But at the same time, I have to continue to push forward with my life and my career, and for us to be able to move forward, I have to be able to take steps and put pride to the side.
“I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence and keep pushing forward, and I’ve always stood on not disrespecting or sexually assaulting anyone.”
Fox Sports Joy Taylor brought up an excellent point when it comes to Watson and his comments.
“How can one be “innocent” and “remorseful”?
“Remorse implies a role you played in the situation. Empathy is different.”
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam addressed the media and spoke about the importance of second chances.
“I think in this country, people deserve second chances,” Haslam told reporters. “Is he never supposed to play again? Is he no longer supposed to be part of society? That’s what we’re going to do. We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and that worked out pretty well.”
Along with his $5 million fine, the league and Browns are donating $1 million each to a fund that will support nonprofit organizations across the country to educate young people on “healthy relationships, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.”
For now, the suspension ends months of speculation about whether Watson would play in 2022 for the Browns. He will now be eligible to return to play against his former team in the Texans while in Houston.
Amazing how that happened.