Picture Supply: Getty / Nick Cammett
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six video games with out pay for violating the Nationwide Soccer League’s (NFL) private conduct coverage. The suspension is available in response to the greater than two dozen ladies who’ve come forth with allegations towards Watson for sexual misconduct throughout therapeutic massage remedies. Watson can also be restricted to “club-approved therapeutic massage therapists, in club-directed periods, at some stage in his profession,” per The New York Instances. Nonetheless, Watson didn’t obtain a tremendous. The ruling got here in as we speak from retired federal choose and NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, and the NFL or NFL Gamers Affiliation (NFLPA) have three days to enchantment Robinson’s choice.
The six-game suspension is considerably lower than the NFL’s request for a 17-game season and postseason suspension, CNN stories — a request that Robinson criticized for being unfair. “Right here, the NFL is trying to impose a extra dramatic shift in its tradition with out the advantage of truthful discover to — and consistency of consequence for — these within the NFL topic to the Coverage,” Robinson mentioned, per CNN.
The NFLPA already launched a joint assertion with Watson forward of Robinson’s ruling, stating it might “stand by her ruling” and “name on the NFL to do the identical.”
Our joint assertion with Deshaun Watson on the upcoming arbitration choice: pic.twitter.com/9ObLnHiX6J
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 31, 2022
This is not the primary time Watson’s conduct has come below scrutiny. Whereas nonetheless a member of the Houston Texans crew, Watson didn’t play a single sport in 2021 on account of ongoing court docket instances. Earlier this month, 30 ladies reached a confidential settlement with the Houston Texans after claiming the group enabled Watson’s misconduct (The New York Instances reported that Watson met with at the least 66 ladies for massages in slightly below a yr and a half and used lodge rooms and NDA agreements offered by the Texans).
Watson and his authorized crew denied sexual-assault allegations when he joined the Cleveland Browns. The Browns had been closely criticized for signing Watson to the crew in March having already identified concerning the 24 ladies suing the quarterback for sexual harassment or assault. The allegations largely concern Watson’s conduct throughout therapeutic massage remedies. The plaintiffs declare Watson uncovered himself throughout massages, touched the ladies together with his penis, and coerced nonconsensual sexual acts, together with oral intercourse. Solely one of many 24 lawsuits introduced towards Watson presently stays pending, as the remaining have been settled over the previous few months.
“We’ll proceed to debate the remaining case with Watson’s authorized crew, as acceptable,” plaintiff lawyer Tony Buzbee mentioned in an announcement. “We’ll proceed to debate the remaining case with Watson’s authorized crew, as acceptable. This case began as a result of one girl had the fortitude to step ahead and make her voice heard. Her braveness impressed many others with the identical expertise. None of this saga would have occurred with out that one courageous voice. One individual could make a distinction.”
Watson’s suspension raises vital questions concerning the NFL’s stance on sexual misconduct. Already, Watson’s suspension is being criticized as a slap on the wrist, and the ruling provides to the NFL’s legacy of disregarding the seriousness of sexual assault and home abuse.
Former Baltimore operating again Ray Rice was initially suspended solely two video games after CCTV footage surfaced of an altercation between him and his spouse, which included Rice dragging his semiconscious spouse from a on line casino elevator (although amid public outcry, Rice was later suspended from the league). Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was twice accused of rape and continues to be anticipated to be inducted into the NFL Corridor of Fame. Former Kansas Metropolis Chiefs star operating again Kareem Hunt was caught on digicam pushing and kicking a girl and obtained simply an eight-game suspension. To place these numbers into context, Cleveland Browns huge receiver Josh Gordon was suspended for a whole season and banned from all follow and membership capabilities after failing a marijuana check in 2014.
The irony is not misplaced on sports activities followers, both. One Twitter user wrote, “Simply to place it into perspective, Tom Brady bought 4 video games for deflating some footballs. Watson sexually assaults 20+ ladies . . . 6 video games. The NFL is a joke.” NFL reporter Dov Kleiman tweeted, “Josh Gordon was suspended for 78 video games by the NFL for smoking weed. Calvin Ridley was suspended for at the least 1 full season for having a bet that his crew will win. Vincent Jackson was suspended for 3 video games due to unlicensed driving. Plaxico bought 4 video games for taking pictures his leg.”
Nonetheless allowed to attend follow, Watson was reportedly met with loud cheering from followers after the suspension was introduced.
Watson’s mild suspension begs the query of whether or not the NFL will ever take allegations of sexual misconduct critically.
POPSUGAR reached out to Watson’s company, however as of 5:15 p.m. ET press time, that they had not returned the request for remark.