CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson may soon learn if he will be able to get behind center on game days this fall.
Watson is expected to meet with a disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL players union Tuesday. The league is revealing little details about the hearing.
A league official told the I-Team Tuesday morning the hearing is private, and they don’t disclose the time or location. Two sources, however, confirmed the hearing will not be held in Cleveland.
Watson was informed a few days ago the NFL is recommending an indefinite suspension without pay for at least a year, several sources told the I-Team. The 26-year-old would then be able to apply for reinstatement after the season.
Watson and the player’s union will be trying to show why he doesn’t deserve a lengthy suspension.
It is not known when the hearing officer will decide if she feels Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy and should be disciplined. Once a decision is made both sides will have three days to appeal.
Watson was sued by 24 women claiming sexual misconduct during massage sessions. 20 of the 24 women settled the lawsuits last week, according to the attorney representing all the accusers.
One of the women who didn’t settle filed a lawsuit against the Texans alleging the organization enabled his behavior.
Toi Garner filed the lawsuit Monday in Harris County District Court.
The I-Team reached out to the Texans to discuss the lawsuit. A spokesperson for the organization released a statement saying they are aware of the lawsuit.
“Since March 2021, we have fully supported and complied with law enforcement and the various investigations,” the statement reads. “We will continue to take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization.”
The suit further notes that the Houston Police detective who investigated 10 complaints filed against Watson, uncovered cash app receipts for massage therapy that revealed Watson used more than 50 different massage therapists in less than a 17-month period. That detective, Kamesha Baker, stated in depositions that she felt Watson committed criminal acts.
Watson, however, faces no criminal charges. A grand jury in Harris County heard nine of the cases and a grand jury in Brazoria County heard one. Both grand juries declined to indict him.
The suit also speaks about the Browns and the NFL.
“Watson, a high-profile player publicly accused of assaulting more than twenty women was aggressively pursued by multiple teams and ultimately received one of the most lucrative contracts in NFL history,” the suit states. “Despite claims that it did extensive due diligence, not one question was asked by Watson’s new employer of the victims about Watson’s alleged behavior. No effort was made to obtain the police file or speak to the investigating officers.”
The I-Team reached out to officials with the Browns. A spokesperson for the Browns says that allegation is not true. Browns officials say the organization hired a third party to review police reports and do a thorough background check before Watson was offered a contract.
The suit further notes NFL investigators spoke to a third of the alleged victims.