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11:10 AM PT — Watson’s agent, David Mulugheta, is explaining his client’s contradicting statements … saying, “Deshaun has always stated he is innocent of sexual assault. Nothing has changed in what he said. He also said he is remorseful, the decisions he made have created this situation.”
“The settlement allows him to move forward with his life and career.”
9:44 AM PT — Watson just addressed the media for the first time since the new suspension was announced — and despite saying in a statement earlier in the day that he takes “accountability” for his actions … he told reporters he’s “never assaulted or disrespected anyone.”
Watson said repeatedly that he “stands on my innocence” … and said he was accepting of the suspension solely to put the situation behind him.
9:24 AM PT — Watson is speaking out on his suspension … saying, “I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization.”
“I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused,” he added. “I take accountability for the decisions I made.”
“My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam also announced they will invest in programs in Northeast Ohio to educate children on the awareness, understanding and prevention of sexual misconduct.
Deshaun Watson has learned his fate — the controversial quarterback has been suspended 11 games this season after reaching a settlement with the NFL.
The league just announced the new punishment for the Cleveland Browns star — saying in addition to the lengthier ban, Watson also agreed to a $5 million fine. The 26-year-old will also “promptly undergo a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program,” according to the NFL.
Deshaun Watson Suspended Six Games Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations
NFL commish Roger Goodell addressed the settlement, saying, “Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL.”
“This settlement requires compliance with a professional evaluation and treatment plan, a significant fine, and a more substantial suspension.”
He added … “We are grateful to Judge Robinson and Peter Harvey for their efforts in addressing these matters, which laid the foundation for reaching this conclusion.”
Watson — who was acquired by the Browns in the offseason — initially received a six-game suspension from retired Judge Sue Robinson, who spent several days investigating the claims made against him from 2020-21.
The NFL was unaccepting of Robinson’s ruling and appealed Watson’s 6-game ban … believing there was enough evidence to lobby for a stricter suspension.
As we previously reported, Goodell ripped Watson to reporters last week … calling Deshaun’s behavior “egregious” and “predatory.”
Quotes from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the decision to appeal Watson suspension: pic.twitter.com/73ZcKRvfym
“There were multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior,” Goodell previously said. “Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”
The NFL Players Association wasn’t initially on board with the NFL appealing Judge Robinson’s ruling … but Goodell argued that the league is allowed to do so, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement.
“As you know, it’s part of the CBA that two parties had the right. Either party could certainly challenge and appeal that, and that was something we thought was our right to do, as well as the NFLPA,” Goodell said.
Former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey was hired to hear the appeal … but after the settlement Thursday, it’s clear he will no longer be needed.
As settlement talks were being held, Watson was allowed to take the field for the Browns’ Week 1 preseason game against the Jaguars … and the QB was met with boos from the Jacksonville crowd.
Deshaun will be eligible to return Week 13 against his former team — the Houston Texans.
Originally Published — 8:56 AM PT
Source by www.tmz.com