CLEVELAND (WJW) – While officials with the National Football League are still deciding if they will appeal a 6-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the National Organization for Women has issued a scathing statement on the issue. Also, the attorney who represented the 24 women who filed lawsuits against the 26-year-old is planning a press conference.
Atty. Tony Buzbee says he will have a press conference Thursday. 23 of the 24 accusers have settled their lawsuits. The I-Team has learned there were talks Monday to try and settle the last lawsuit.
The NFL has until Thursday to decide if they will appeal the decision on Watson’s suspension.
“It is unacceptable, insulting, and dangerous—but not surprising—that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will face merely a 6-game suspension—with no fines—following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made by more than two dozen women,” the statement from the National Organization for Women’s statement said. “The NFL and the multi-billion-dollar sports industry have a vested interest in enabling sexual misconduct, assault, and violence. They even wrote it into Deshaun Watson’s $230 million contract!“
Former Federal Judge Sue L. Robinson presided over Watson’s 3-day disciplinary hearing in June. She determined that Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and issued the 6-game suspension. He was not fined.
“The Browns knew that their star recruit would be suspended for at least part of this year’s season because of his record of sex offenses, and so they restructured his contract to make the majority of his $46 million first-year payout a “signing bonus,” not tied to him playing actual games,” the NOW statements reads. “Deshaun Watson must not be allowed to profit from his horrific behavior, and the NFL must change its business model that allows, enables, and hides sexual misconduct into one that respects women and holds abusers accountable. Shame on the Cleveland Browns for rewarding Deshaun Watson and shame on the NFL for perpetuating a system where money talks and women aren’t heard. “
Watson is not facing any criminal charges. Two grand juries decided not to indict Watson on any charges.
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam released the following statement Monday.
“Throughout this process, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the newly created and agreed upon process for the NFLPA and the NFL to defer to the objective Judge Sue L. Robinson to comprehensively review all information and make a fair decision,” the Haslam’s said. “We respect Judge Robinson’s decision, and at the same time, empathize and understand that there have been many individuals triggered throughout this process. We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field, and we will continue to support him.”