For years, Cleveland Browns fans could always reach into their bag of jokes and take shots at the Steelers over Ben Roethlisberger and his sexual assault situation. Things have changed drastically.
Big Ben is retired and the Browns have since traded for Deshaun Watson, who was accused by 25 women for sexual assault or misconduct.
On Monday, the Browns QB received a shocking six-game suspension by retired federal judge Sue Robinson. It’s a decision that is expected to be appealed by the league in hopes of getting more games.
In the meantime, Watson is at camp and handling things as business as usual as he knows he won’t see the field until Week 7. Once he made his way out on the training camp field Monday, he was met with a ton of cheers by the fan base.
Watson settled with 23 of the 24 accusers.
Browns co-owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam released a joint statement on the Watson matter.
“Throughout this process, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the newly created and agreed upon process for the NFLPA and the NFL to defer to the objective Judge Sue L. Robinson to comprehensively review all information and make a fair decision,” the Haslams said.
“We respect Judge Robinson’s decision, and at the same time, empathize and understand that there have been many individuals triggered throughout this process. We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field, and we will continue to support him.”
As for the message the report sent to female Browns fans, Head coach Kevin Stefanski said he felt empathetic “for anyone who has been impacted by this decision.”
“It is something that I do not take lightly. I have spoken to women in our organization. I have spoken to women in the community. That is something that I will continue to do. Our fans, whether you are a man or a woman, our fans are really important to us so I want to make sure that they understand that and that they are never going to be dismissed in any way,” he said.
The NFL could appeal Robinson’s decision to levy a six-game suspension. The league has three days to decide.