Deshawn Watson Disciplinary Decision Expected Monday

Following a 15-month NFL investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshawn Watson, a decision is expected Monday on how and if Watson will be punished under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Sue L. Robinson, a retired federal judge jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to oversee player discipline, notified both the league and the players union on Sunday morning that it would make its decision on Monday, according to two people with direct knowledge. Robinson connections. These people requested anonymity because Robinson did not publicly discuss the process.

More than two dozen women have accused Watson of sexually abusing and indecent behavior towards women he hired for massages from fall 2019 to March 2021, when he was a member of the Houston Texans. Twenty-four women filed civil lawsuits against Watson, and 20 lawsuits were dismissed. settled in June. Watson denied the allegations, and a grand jury in two Texas counties refused to indict Watson on criminal charges.

Activities prohibited by the league’s personal conduct policy include sexual offenses, activities that endanger the safety and well-being of another person, and anything that undermines the integrity of the league.

The Browns traded Watson in March, after the first grand jury declined to indict him, but before the second did, and gave him a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract. The decision to discipline Watson was widely anticipated, not only because of the money the Browns had invested in it, but also because the breadth of the charges against Watson set it apart from any other personal conduct case the league had considered.

The league and Watson’s representatives failed to agree on a mutually agreed upon discipline, leaving the initial decision in Robinson’s hands. She oversaw a three-day hearing in late June in which the NFL recommended an indefinite suspension of Watson and demanded that he wait at least a full season to reapply, while Watson’s union and representatives opposed a lengthy ban. It was the first NFL personal conduct case heard by a disciplinary inspector in place of Commissioner Roger Goodell, protocol set out in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement.

The league and players’ association will have three business days after Robinson’s decision to file a written appeal, which will be heard by Goodell or a person of his choice. But the players’ union said in a statement Sunday night – before Robinson issued its decision – that it would not appeal and urged the NFL to uphold the decision.

“Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legal and will not be tarnished by the whims of the League’s office,” the union said. “That’s why, regardless of her decision, Deshawn and the NFLPA will support her decision, and we urge the NFL to do the same.”

NFL began his investigation into Watson in March 2021, when the first accusers’ lawsuits were filed. League investigators not entitled to subpoena, with 10 women who filed suits against Watson, witnesses of the time to verify their testimony, and other women who worked with Watson.