It’s been a long time coming. The drama has drawn itself out over the course of two years and today, the NFL finally decided what type of punishment will be laid against Deshaun Watson after 25 women came forward to accuse him of sexually violating them. According to ESPN, the Cleveland Browns quarterback has been suspended for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy but he will not be fined.
In part, the NFL personal conduct policy states the following:
Conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL.
It goes on to say:
It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.
Disciplnary officer Sue L. Robinson ruled that while Watson is clearly in violation of that standard, the NFL’s previous record on sexual abuse cases hasn’t set a steep enough precedent to suspend him for their reccomended indefinite suspension.
Of the 32 previous cases of varying types of misconduct since this policy went into effect in 2015, 21 of them have ended in 6-game suspensions. The other 12 were either significantly more egregious (as impossible as that sounds) or took into account that the players involved were a habitual violators.
Robinson also found that Watson’s “predatory conduct cast ‘a negative light on the League and its players.’ ”
Robinson ruled that Watson is “to limit his massage therapy to Club-directed sessions and Club-approved massage therapists for the duration of his career, and so [I] impose this mandate as a condition to his reinstatement.”
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