In what looks to be a significant development in Deshaun Watson’s situation, the Browns quarterback has reportedly settled 20 of 24 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct.
In addition to reporting from Sarah Bishop (ESPN) and Mary Kay Cabot (Cleveland.com) on the matter, you can read full statements from Watson’s legal representation, as shared by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport:
This is quite the shift from Watson and his camp, which has gone from strongly denying allegations and insisting on not settling to reaching a settlement with all but four of the lawsuits against him. Watson’s situation has grown more muddy and complicated at each turn. What began last offseason has trudged on for a year. And when two more allegations surfaced and led to lawsuits in June, it made me wonder if Watson would even suit up for a team that sent a bounty of draft picks to the Texans for Watson and gave him an extension worth $230 million.
To be clear, it’s not as if Watson is out of the NFL’s crosshairs. Because when it comes to discipline potentially coming down from the league, the process remains ongoing:
The Washington Post’s Mark Maske was recently reporting that Watson’s camp was expecting a “significant” suspension to come down. And perhaps it is still coming with a league spokesman commenting today’s news won’t impact the NFL’s decision on Watson. Remember, the league handed Ben Roethlisberger a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy back in 2010. That suspension came down despite prosecutors not charging Roethlisberger in a sexual assault case. And while the league’s protocol and process for delivering punishment has changed, the policies remain in tact. In other words, the Roethlisberger case could be seen as precedent for Watson.
We’ll keep an eye on this situation and share updates as necessary.