Picture Supply: Getty / Nick Cammett
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six 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 classes, in the course of his profession,” per The New York Times. Nevertheless, Watson didn’t obtain a high-quality. The ruling got here in right now from retired federal choose and NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, and the NFL or NFL Gamers Affiliation (NFLPA) have three days to attraction Robinson’s determination.
The six-game suspension is considerably lower than the NFL’s request for a 17-game season and postseason suspension, CNN reports — a request that Robinson criticized for being unfair. “Right here, the NFL is making an attempt 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 will “stand by her ruling” and “name on the NFL to do the identical.”
Our joint assertion with Deshaun Watson on the approaching arbitration determination: pic.twitter.com/9ObLnHiX6J
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 31, 2022
This is not the primary time Watson’s conduct has come underneath scrutiny. Whereas nonetheless a member of the Houston Texans group, Watson did not play a single game in 2021 on account of ongoing court docket circumstances. Earlier this month, 30 women reached a confidential settlement with the Houston Texans after claiming the group enabled Watson’s misconduct (The New York Times reported that Watson met with at least 66 women for massages in just below a yr and a half and used lodge rooms and NDA agreements supplied by the Texans).
Watson and his authorized group denied sexual-assault allegations when he joined the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been closely criticized for signing Watson to the group in March having already recognized in regards to the 24 women suing the quarterback for sexual harassment or assault. The allegations largely concern Watson’s conduct during massage treatments. 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 at the moment stays pending, as the remainder have been settled over the previous few months.
“We are going to proceed to debate the remaining case with Watson’s authorized group, as applicable,” plaintiff lawyer Tony Buzbee said in a statement. “We are going to proceed to debate the remaining case with Watson’s authorized group, as applicable. 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 particular person could make a distinction.”
Watson’s suspension raises essential questions in regards to 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 only two 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 remains to be anticipated to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Former Kansas Metropolis Chiefs star operating again Kareem Hunt was caught on digital camera pushing and kicking a girl and obtained simply an eight-game suspension. To place these numbers into context, Cleveland Browns broad receiver Josh Gordon was suspended for an entire season and banned from all follow and membership features 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 obtained 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 a minimum of 1 full season for betting that his group will win. Vincent Jackson was suspended for 3 video games due to unlicensed driving. Plaxico obtained 4 video games for capturing his leg.”
Nonetheless allowed to attend follow, Watson was reportedly met with loud cheering from fans after the suspension was introduced.
Watson’s gentle suspension begs the query of whether or not the NFL will ever take allegations of sexual misconduct severely.
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.