Preseason games are here for the NFL, therefore the regular season is starting soon. The Cleveland Browns will start its season without newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson has been suspended 11 games fined $5 million after violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson said in a statement on Thursday. “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”
In addition to the suspension and fine, Watson must also commit to mandatory evaluation and treatment. His suspension will officially start on Aug. 30 after the final rost cut down and will be eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28. Per NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, Watson is eligible to return to Cleveland’s facility on Oct. 10 while resuming practice on Nov. 14.
“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement on Thursday. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension. We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”
Watson had multiple lawsuits filed against him after various women accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.
“I’ll continue to stand on my innocence, just because you know settlements, and things like that happen doesn’t mean that a person is guilty for anything. I feel like a person has an opportunity to stand on his innocence and prove that, and we proved that from a legal side, and just going to continue to push forward as an individual and as a person,” Watson said.
Watson’s fine money as well as an additional $1 million from both the NFL and the Browns, will create a fund to support the prevention of sexual misconduct and assault.