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#pounditSaturday, September 24, 2022

Deshaun Watson

Photo of Browns fans’ Deshaun Watson massage table goes viral

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns fans managed to go viral on Sunday for the way they mocked the Deshaun Watson situation.

Watson was sued by 24 women who accused him of sexual misconduct during/while seeking massages. Watson has settled most of the cases and is currently serving an 11-game suspension from the NFL.

Some Browns fans poked fun at the sitution during what appeared to be a tailgate before the team’s game against the New York Jets.

The fans brought out a massage table and put a mannequin on it with a towel covering the genitals area. They also had a box for tips on the table, along with a sign saying “happy endings are not illegal.”

The fans appeared to be making fun of Watson’s lawyer, who used that exact defense about his client.

In addition to his 11-game suspension, Watson was fined $5 million. The Browns have been starting Jacoby Brissett at quarterback with Watson out. Cleveland lost 31-30 at home to the Jets.

NFL had key reason for pursuing Deshaun Watson settlement?

Roger Goodell at a press conference

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had ample reason to settle his suspension with the NFL. Some have questioned what the incentive was for the NFL, particularly after the league openly pushed for a one-year suspension stemming from multiple allegations of sexual assault/sexual misconduct.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports wrote Friday that there is reason to believe the league and its 32 owners were hesitant to follow through with a full one-year suspension for Watson. Robinson suggested that the NFL was wary of Watson and the NFLPA taking the league to federal court over the suspension, an outcome Robinson had previously reported was likely. While the effort likely would not have been successful, the NFL was not keen to see out the costly legal battle and public relations issues that would come with it.

In addition, team owners were concerned that the NFLPA would begin publicly litigating allegations of misconduct against their ranks if Watson was suspended for a full year. The union has been angry at how the league has acted strongly against allegations against players such as Watson, but come off looking much more forgiving in the face of allegations against owners such as Washington’s Daniel Snyder. That would be another public relations battle that the league would not want to face.

In other words, the NFL was worried about Watson and the NFLPA launching a damaging legal and PR campaign against the league if Watson received the harshest possible punishment. That is certainly a plausible explanation considering a one-year suspension was seen as a near-certainty prior to the settlement being announced.

As for Watson, a settlement was definitely in his best interests considering what the alternative for him would have been. For better or worse, the process essentially ended with both sides wanting to put the entire situation behind them.

Alleged victim reveals why she did not settle with Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson has reached settlement agreements with all but one of the 24 women who filed sexual assault lawsuits against him. The one alleged victim who refused to settle has now spoken out against the Cleveland Browns star.

Lauren Baxley wrote a guest piece for The Daily Beast that was published on Friday in which she identified herself as the remaining plaintiff against Watson. She said one of the reasons she was not satisfied with any of the settlement offers is that she believes they aim to dismiss Watson’s actions rather than show remorse.

“I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they have not included any sincere acknowledgment of remorse and wrongdoings, nor have they included any promises of rehabilitative treatment,” Baxley wrote. “Watson still refuses to admit that he harassed and committed indecent assault against me. Any settlement offer he has made has been a dismissal of his evil actions, and I know that unless there is an authoritative intervention, he will continue his destructive behavior.”

Watson has consistently maintained his innocence. He only admitted to having consensual sexual encounters with some of the women who filed lawsuits against him. Baxley says she is not one of those women.

“I will say again: All non-consensual sexual acts are a violence, particularly when the predator far outweighs his victims in physical stature and influential power,” she wrote. “And inherent and unspoken threats are just as damaging to the psyche as explicit threats. I will never cease my attempts to educate on this point.”

The NFL announced Thursday that it has settled with Watson on an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine. In a statement that was released with the announcement, Watson tried to explain why he accepted a harsh punishment despite insisting he did nothing wrong.

It is unclear what the end result will be between Watson and Baxley. The lawsuit could eventually be heard in court if no settlement is reached. Unless some new allegations come to light, however, the NFL probably considers the matter resolved.

Deshaun Watson tries to explain decision to settle suspension

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson spoke to the media after his 11-game suspension was officially announced by the NFL, and he tried to offer some explanations about what led to a settlement.

The NFL announced Thursday that it had settled with Watson on an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine over sexual misconduct/assault allegations made against the quarterback. In a statement released with the announcement, Watson apologized “for any pain this situation has caused” and added that he “take(s) accountability for the decisions I made.”

Watson then spoke directly to the media, in which he maintained his innocence and tried to explain his apology in light of that. The quarterback said his apology was for “people that were triggered” and said he had accepted the settlement because he had to “push forward with my life and career.”

Watson has consistently maintained his innocence in the face of the allegations. There was even some suggestion that he felt the initial six-game suspension was too harsh. His case was difficult to argue after former judge Sue L. Robinson stated that she felt the NFL had proved the allegations against Watson. The proof is part of why she forced the quarterback to make a major change to his routine. The question of why he would accept a significant penalty if he could make the case that the facts are on his side is certainly a valid one.

The NFL said Watson must undergo professional evaluation during his suspension, and commissioner Roger Goodell certainly seems to want to see Watson show some sort of remorse for his alleged actions. That will be difficult for Watson to do as long as he maintains that he never did what he was accused of in the first place.

Deshaun Watson agrees to settlement with NFL on suspension

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has successfully negotiated a settlement with the NFL that will allow him to play at least some part of the 2022 season.

As first reported by NFL reporter Joseph Pasteris, Watson will be suspended for the first 11 games of the regular season, and fined $5 million. Watson’s fine will donated to non-profit organizations combatting sexual assault, with the Browns and the NFL each contributing $1 million as well. The penalties were confirmed by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Watson has also agreed to undergo mandatory evaluation and treatment by behavioral experts.

An 11-game suspension would allow Watson to be reinstated on November 28. That would allow Watson to play all six December games, including divisional games against Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. He would also be allowed to play in the playoffs if the Browns qualify. Notably, his first game back would be a road game against the Houston Texans, his former team.

The suspension is significantly longer than the initial six-game ban handed down by NFL arbitrator Sue L. Robinson. However, it is significantly less than the year-long ban the NFL was seeking. The final agreement is essentially a compromise between what the NFL wanted and what Watson had reportedly proposed.

Watson faced sexual assault allegations from numerous masseuses stemming from his time with the Texans, which led the league to seek strict discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy.

Report: Deshaun Watson, NFL close to reaching settlement

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and Deshaun Watson are close to reaching a settlement, according to a report.

Watson has been awaiting a final word on his discipline for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy stemming from his sexual misconduct with numerous masseuses. The disciplinary officer hearing the gave Watson a six-game suspension, which the league appealed.

Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney Governor Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal. However, Watson and the league reportedly are close to reaching a resolution independent of Harvey. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported on Wednesday that a decision could come on Wednesday or Thursday.

Watson reportedly has offered to be suspended 8 games and fined $5 million.

There has been talk over the last week that the two sides could reach a settlement on Watson’s discipline.

The NFL reportedly is seeking a fine for Watson because of the way the Cleveland Browns structured the quarterback’s contract. Watson was given a small base salary so that he wouldn’t lose much money in the case of a suspension. A fine would hurt Watson monetarily and address the Browns’ efforts to circumvent such a penalty.

Report: Browns have surprising stance on Jimmy Garoppolo trade

Jimmy Garoppolo at a press conference

Jan 27, 2020; Miami, FL, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during Super Bowl LIV Opening Night at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are facing the possibility of having to play the 2022 season without Deshaun Watson. A new report suggests that Watson’s situation still may not change their thinking about how the quarterback position is handled.

In an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport questioned reports linking the Browns with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Rapoport said he has not gotten the sense that the Browns are particularly interested in Garoppolo. He believes the Browns are prepared to stick with Jacoby Brissett if necessary.

“I just don’t get the sense that the Browns are that interested,” Rapoport said. “They signed Jacoby Brissett for a reason. If they trade for Jimmy G, it’s $20-plus million more dollars. I’ve checked with everyone. Maybe something will surprise me. I just do not get the sense there’s that much interest.”

Reports had emerged last week that Garoppolo would likely be a target for the Browns if Watson is suspended for a year, which looks increasingly likely to happen. Rapoport certainly does not seem to be buying that narrative.

The Browns signed Brissett to a one-year deal in March and look ready to stand behind him. The 29-year-old has started sporadically during his career, often with the Indianapolis Colts. Brissett does have two essentially full seasons as a starter under his belt, putting together limited success with 31 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Jaguars fans had profane chant for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson still does not know how many games he will be permitted to play in this season, but there is one thing the star quarterback can be certain of — he is going to hear it from fans whenever the Cleveland Browns are on the road.

Watson started Friday night’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. He was greeted with some profane chants, one of which was “You sick f—!” You can see the video below, but beware that it contains inappropriate language.

That type of heckling was expected, especially since Watson spent his first four NFL seasons in the AFC South with the Houston Texans. Assuming he is not suspended for all of 2022, he will probably hear much worse when the regular season begins.

Watson looked rusty in his Browns debut. He completed just one pass for 7 yards and did not play much. The 26-year-old has been suspended for six games, but the NFL appealed the decision. It is widely believed that he will miss more games than that.

Report: 1 outcome viewed as ‘slam dunk’ in Deshaun Watson appeal

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

An independent disciplinary officer ruled that Deshaun Watson should be suspended six games after the quarterback was accused of sexual misconduct by 25 different women, but there is a growing belief that the final penalty will be much harsher than that.

The NFL has appealed Judge Sue. L. Robinson’s decision. Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, who helped write the NFL’s current personal conduct policy, to hear the appeal. The league is reportedly seeking a suspension of at least a full year. One source told Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that a one-year suspension is a “slam dunk.”

Another source said it is possible that Harvey will double the length of the original suspension and ban Watson for 12 games in addition to levying a fine of $8 million or more. Whatever the outcome, the NFL Players Association can drag out the saga longer by filing a temporary restraining order and searching for a judge to overturn the ruling.

Watson is reportedly willing to accept an 8-game suspension and $5 million fine. A 12-game suspension could be a compromise for the two sides.

It seems inevitable that Watson’s suspension will be longer than six games. The Cleveland Browns star has one very good reason for wanting anything less than a full-year ban.

Deshaun Watson has big reason for wanting to avoid 1-year suspension

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Following an extensive investigation, an independent discipline officer recommended a six-game suspension for Deshaun Watson over sexual assault/sexual misconduct allegations. Predictably, the NFL was quick to appeal that recommendation.

In the aftermath of the league’s appeal, Watson and his representation reportedly proposed a counter-offer. Rather than serve a one-year suspension, which is what the NFL is seeking, the Cleveland Browns quarterback said he was willing to accept an eight-game suspension. That would include incurring a fine of $5 million.

There’s a specific reason Watson is looking to avoid a one-year suspension, and it has nothing to do with hurting the Browns in 2022. Rather, it has everything to do with his contract and the potential money being lost. His $1 million base salary scheduled for 2022 would roll over to 2023 if he were suspended a year. That would delay his ability to receive his money immediately.

Despite the ongoing appeals process, the Browns opted to start Watson in their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night. He completed just one of his five pass attempts for seven yards before being removed from the game.

Prior to the 24-13 victory, Watson apologized to the women he “impacted” for the very first time.

“I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson said on the team’s in-house pregame show. “The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back. “But I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character and I am going to keep pushing forward.”

Previously, Watson had stated he had “no regrets” regarding any of his actions during massage sessions.

There is no specific deadline for Peter C. Harvey to rule on the league’s appeal, but he must work on an “expedited” basis, according to the collective bargaining agreement. A decision could come at any moment.