Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson Learns Official Punishment Following Appeal in Sexual Misconduct Case

by Patrick Norton

On Aug. 1, the NFL and NFLPA’s jointly-appointed disciplinary officer made official her suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Just docking the quarterback six games with no fine felt like an injustice to the 26 women accusing him of sexual misconduct.

But the league office filed an appeal on the ruling just two days later. While the NFLPA threatened to sue in the event of a larger suspension handed down, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell boasted a desire to suspend Watson for a full season.

However, less than three weeks later, the league and players association have a deal. Watson’s suspension receives a five-game boost from six to eleven. He also must pay a $5 million fine that the league will donate to charity.

That means Deshaun Watson returns to the field at the earliest in Week 13 against his former team, the Houston Texans. The Texans have had a battle on their own turf in the matter, too. But the team quickly settled with the accusers that the organization enabled his behavior.

Watson settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him earlier in the offseason. However, a grand jury in Texas refused to indict with criminal charges. The refusal to begin a criminal trial allowed for the Texans to ship Watson to Cleveland.

Once in Cleveland, Watson signed a monstrous $230 million deal for five years. But unlike most NFL contracts, the Browns guaranteed Watson’s entire salary. Once the quarterback reached the deal, the league ramped up discussions of a conduct hearing to determine punishment.

Deshaun Watson Gets Off Easy, Won’t Learn From Consequences

The 26-year-old’s public statements and actions seemingly contradict each other. Watson appeared apologetic in a video Cleveland’s social team published before the first preseason game last week. And a statement released after the official suspension from the league shows remorse “for any pain this situation has caused.”

However, Watson met with the media shortly after the announcement striking a different chord. The quarterback maintained his innocence, refusing to acknowledge his predatory and problematic actions. When asked why he decided to apologize while maintaining his innocence, his response hardly makes any logical sense.

Watson said, “For everybody that was affected by this situation. There were a lot of people that were triggered.” His failures to acknowledge his own misdoings is a glaring example as to why many fans of the NFL still believe 11 games isn’t enough. Watson’s remorseful tone lacks significance and meaning when the message fails to include sincerity.