BEREA, Ohio (WJW) – Now that we know Cleveland Browns Quarterback Deshaun Watson will sit out six games, following several sexual misconduct accusations, attention turns to the team and how the suspension will impact them on the field.
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski spoke out Monday afternoon after the NFL’s decision, saying he respects Judge Robinson’s opinion and they will continue to follow the process.
“I’m going to remain what we’ve said all along about Deshaun,” Stefanski said. “He’s working to be a better version of himself and I believe that.”
Stefanski said he hasn’t sat down to read the 16-page report on Watson’s suspension yet, but they will make sure that everything agreed upon in the report is met.
Watson is allowed to participate in practice and preseason games until his suspension starts in the regular season.
“We understand that there are questions and I want to be as transparent as possible… with you, with our fans, with our team,” Stefanski said.
Dee and Jimmy Haslam also released the following statement:
“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. 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.”
Fox 8 Sports Reporter John Sabol explains Watson will still be able to practice with the team, but will eventually be pulled away once the suspension takes effect.
“So you’re getting all your reps in now,” said Sabol. “Now the Browns have something they’ve got to work on and that’s their Plan B, which they’ve been working on since they traded for Deshaun Watson in March and that’s Jacoby Brissett.”
As the ruling stands, Watson’s debut game with the Browns would take place on October 23 against the Ravens.
“They’ve been the archnemesis of the Browns for decades now, you know that’s a hard situation to come right into,” said Sabol.
It’s not yet clear if the NFL would challenge the disciplinary decision. They have three days to decide.
On Sunday, Watson and the NFL Players Association released a statement on Twitter saying they do not plan to appeal the ruling.
The statement said in part: “Regardless of [Robinson’s] decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.” They said they have cooperated with the inquiry and that the process has been legitimate.