Deshaun Watson’s new suspension has come down.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback has been handed a new 11-game suspension from the NFL. The settlement was agreed upon by the league office and the NFL Player’s Association, according to ESPN.
Also included in the suspension is a $5 million fine that will go to charity. Although that deal has not been officially signed, both sides have agreed to the suspension, according to a report from Adam Schefter.
In a statement, Watson said, “I’m grateful that the disciplinary process had ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns Organization. I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused.
He continued, “I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working become the best version of myself on and off the field and support my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team.”
Originally suspended for six games earlier this month, the league appealed the suspension to opp for the Browns quarterback to miss more time. Before the suspension was handed down, the NFL was reportedly looking for an indefinite suspension that would last for at least one season.
This new 11-game suspension means Watson will not be able to take snaps during the regular season until week 13 when the Browns face off against Watson’s old team, the Houston Texans.
The settlement between the two sides heads off a ruling from former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey, whom commissioner Roger Goodell appointed to oversee the NFL’s appeal of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson’s decision that Watson be issued a six-game suspension.
Robinson, an independent arbiter jointly appointed by the league and players’ union, originally ruled on Aug. 1 that Watson would serve a six-game suspension but would not be fined for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, writing in a 16-page report that “the NFL carried its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual assault (as defined by the NFL) against the four therapists identified in the Report.”
Watson had been accused by 24 women of sexual assault and harassment stemming from a series of massage sessions he booked outside of the medical and training protocol of his former team, the Houston Texans. Watson last month settled 20 of those lawsuits and yesterday, his attorney told ESPN that he had settled all but one of the outstanding civil complaints against him.
Over the weekend, before a Browns preseason game, Watson finally issued an apology to all of the women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct. During the interview with Cleveland News 5, Watson said, “I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation.”
Despite the suspension, Watson will not lose out on most of his $230 million contract thanks to how the Browns structured his contract, which only includes a base salary of $1.035 million, according to ESPN.