Deshaun Watson: NFL verdict reached over Cleveland Browns QB's suspension

Deshaun Watson and Roger Goodell

The NFL have announced the punishment that will be handed down to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson over the accusations levied against him.

In what should hopefully be the end of the matter, it appears as though the saga surrounding Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been settled.

The 26-year-old had been accused of 24 counts of sexual misconduct during his days with the Houston Texans with various massage therapists. The matter could have ended up in court, however a court in Texas declined to indict him, but Watson still faced a number of civil lawsuits over the matter.

He did settle the majority of the cases against him out of court, but despite all of that and maintaining his innocence throughout it all, he still had to face punishment from the NFL for breaking their personal conduct policy and bringing the league into disrepute.

The first suspension

After years of bad publicity when it came to handing out punishments for matters away from the field, most notably in the case surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, the league decided that they did not want to be seen as judge, jury and executioner any more, and as a result, handed the matter over to an outside adjudicator.

That adjudicator was Judge Sue L. Robinson, who after hearing all the evidence presented to them by both sides, handed down a six-game suspension to Watson, even though the NFL had been calling for an indefinite suspension that would more than likely have been for a year.

The decision did not sit well with the NFL, who appealed the decision and took the matter into their own hands, and now we know what the final punishment is going to be.

The end of the matter

In news that has been announced in the last few minutes, Watson is set to serve an 11-game suspension for the 2022 NFL season, will receive a $5m fine and will undergo counseling. The decision was reportedly agreed to in a settlement, which means that barring something incredibly drastic, the punishment will stand and there will be no further appeals or changes.

And in a rather off twist of fate, his first game back is set to be against his former employers:

Now that the matter is finally dealt with, it gives the Browns some clarity in what they will be doing this season and can make their plans accordingly with how much they envision Watson playing a part for them in 2022.

Whether or not this is seen as ‘justice’ in the eyes of the women that are accusing him though, is a totally different issue.

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