The case stirred the world of sport across the Atlantic. A few weeks before the resumption of the American football championship, the National Football League (NFL) announced in a communicated (in English)published Monday, August 1, that an independent judge had suspended quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the stars of the discipline, for six games.
Hired by the NFL specifically to handle this case, magistrate Sue L. Robinson believes that the Cleveland Browns player, targeted by 24 complaints for “inappropriate sexual behavior”, violated the internal rules of the NFL. The latter has three days to possibly appeal the decision, specifies the American agency. The Associated Press (article in English). The players’ union and Watson have for their part claimed in a tweet Sunday that they would not contest the sanction.
BREAKING: The NFL suspends Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson six games for violating his personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by two dozen women in Texas. https://t.co/oOB1Mby2xX
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 1, 2022
The case dates back to 2020. While playing with another franchise, the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson was accused by 24 women, almost all of them therapeutic masseuses, of sexual assault and inappropriate sexual behavior.
Ashley Solis, the first masseuse to publicly reveal her identity, claims the player has it forced to perform a sexual act during a session at home on March 30, 2020.”I have flashes of Watson’s face. I go into a spin as soon as I think back to when his penis touched me“, told the masseuse in front of the cameras of a local Texas channelApril 6, 2021. All Complaints Filed”relate to the same or similar behavior“assured the same day Tony Buzbee, the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
Deshaun Watson has since the beginning of the case firmly denied these accusations. In a tweet quoted by New York Times (article in English)who signed one of the largest contracts in NFL history when he arrived in Cleveland ($230 million over five years) assures “never to have treated any woman other than with the utmost respect“. Recently, a survey of the new york daily (article in English)published on July 15, reported that the player would have made appointments with at least 66 different women in the space of 17 months, from the fall of 2019 to the spring of 2021.
So far, none of the 24 complaints recorded in Harris County District Court in Texas has not been the subject of criminal proceedings against the 26-year-old American footballer. The player has reached a financial agreement with 23 of the 24 plaintiffs, according to The Associated Press (AP).
By receiving a six-game suspension (without pay, underlines AP), the quarterback receives the sanction provided per NFL Code of Conduct (PDF in English) in case of “first offense” regarding such facts. If the NFL accepts the decision, Deshaun Watson, 26, will be suspended from the regular season opener, which runs from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23.