Where do things stand with Deshaun Watson?

Starting Point

After writing multiple posts about the Deshaun Watson situation, I thought it would be best to create an article to create a running list of the ongoing updates. I will update this article as new developments occur on where things stand. The most recent updates will be at the top but feel free to scroll down to witness the full history.

November 14th, 2022

Watson can now practice with the Browns. He is still unable to play in a game till December 4th which will be week 13 and against Watson’s for team, the Houston Texans.

October 10th, 2022

Deshaun Watson is allowed to be back with the team. He can attend workouts and meetings but is unable to practice. The NFL permits players to be back with the team but to not practice so that an acclimatization of sorts can take place. As long as he abides by the terms of his suspension, the next milestone will be Watson returning to practice on November 14th, 2022.

August 30th, 2022

Watson’s suspension began on August 30th. He is unable to be with the team till October 10th at which time he can be in the Browns facility but unable to practice. Watson can start practicing on November 14th. Assuming Watson completes all aspects of his treatment, he can play in the December 4th game against the Texans. Click here to read more.

August 18th, 2022

According to NFL insider Josina Anderson, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games in the 2022 season and been fined $5 million dollars.

The 11-game suspension and $5 million dollar fine is the result of a settlement between the NFL and NFL Players Association. In addition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Watson must comply with a professional treatment plan.

“Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL,” said Goodell. “This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension.”

Deshaun Watson gave the following statement in response to the settlement and resulting suspension.

Watson will miss Cleveland’s first 11 games of the season before being eligible return to the team on November 28th. Surprisingly, Watson’s first game back will come against his former team, the Houston Texans. The Browns and Texans are scheduled to play on December 4th.

The additional 5 games on the suspension will naturally change the Browns plan for the 2022 season. The 5 new games Watson will miss are: at Ravens (Week 7), Bengals (Week 8) at Dolphins (Week 10), at Bills (Week 11) and Buccaneers (Week 12). Additionally, the Browns have a bye week in Week 9, which equates to 12 weeks missed but only 11 games missed.

August 14th, 2022

The Browns played their first pre-season game of the 2022-2023 season against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday August, 12 2022. They won the game 24-13 and Deshaun Watson made his Cleveland Browns debut.

Watson participated in 9 plays in the game and went 1-5 passing for 7 yards. Pro Football Focus graded his offensive performance as 56.6. It’s probably safe to say that Watson is still acclimatizing to being out of the NFL for the last year.

August 3rd, 2022

The NFL announced that they will appeal the 6-game suspension handed to Deshaun Watson by retired federal Judge Sue Robinson. Just before Robinson’s August 1st announcement on the suspension, the NFL players association, NFLPA, announced that they would not be appealing Judge Robinson’s ruling. So, now we wait for the outcome of the NFL’s appeal which will be heard by former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.

The 6-game suspension appears to be the minimum suspension that Watson would serve, pending the ruling from Judge Harvey. Theoretically, the NFLPA could sue the NFL over the ruling of Judge Harvey. By suing the NFL, that could theoretically provide Watson the opportunity to play in all of 2022. If this lawsuit occurs, any potential punishment for Watson could be postponed till 2023.

August 1st, 2022

Judge Sue Robinson has ruled that Deshaun Watson will serve a 6-game suspension. Read the full statement from Judge Robinson here.

A few takeaways from the ruling:

  1. Judge Robinson found that the NFL had proved that Watson committed sexual assault against the 4 massage therapists, which violates the league’s code of conduct.
  2. Watson behavior was deemed to have undermined the NFL’s integrity. Per Robinson’s statement “Mr. Watson acted with a reckless disregard for the consequences of his actions by exposing himself (and the NFL) to such public scrutiny and speculation. Mr. Watson’s predatory conduct cast ‘a negative light on the League and its players,’ sufficient proof that he violated this provision of the Policy.”
  3. Watson’s behavior did not qualify as violent conduct. Judge Robinson’s statement did refer to Watson’s actions as “predatory,” but it was “undisputed that Mr. Watson’s conduct does not fall into the category of violent conduct.”

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