A Bigger Penalty, but QB Isn't Admitting to Wrongdoing

Such deals don't 'mean that a person is guilty for anything,' says Deshaun Watson
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2022 1:25 PM CDT
A Big Settlement, but QB Won't Admit to Wrongdoing
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson speaks to the media Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.   (Joshua Gunter/Cleveland.com via AP)

Deshaun Watson's punishment from the NFL over allegations of sexual misconduct is finally settled. The league and the NFL Players Association agreed Thursday that the Cleveland Browns quarterback will be suspended without pay for 11 games, pay a $5 million fine on top of that, and undergo professional evaluation by behavioral experts, reports ESPN. It's one of the biggest penalties ever imposed on a player, notes Yahoo Sports, and it comes in the wake of accusations by more than two dozen women that Watson harassed them or worse during massages, per the AP. Watson, however, wasn't quite ready to admit wrongdoing.

"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," he told reporters after the deal was announced. "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 has settled all but one of the 24 lawsuits that were filed against him. An independent arbiter previously handed Watson a six-game suspension, but the NFL appealed because it thought the penalty was too light. Thursday's settlement heads off that appeal. Watson can play again in Week 13 of the upcoming season. (More Deshaun Watson stories.)

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