Deshaun Watson, on settling down and getting advice, shows the NFL he’s ready to do the work: Browns Takeaways

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Over the past two weeks, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has shown the NFL that he’s willing to do the work to move forward from his troubles off the field and restart his NFL career.

If the league sees enough effort and desire from Watson, it could be a mitigating factor in his discipline, which could be delivered in the next week or two. In accordance with the Collectively Negotiated Personal Conduct Policy, the NFL will consider a player’s actions following the alleged infraction.

The policy states that “in determining discipline, both aggravating and mitigating factors may be considered.” “Reference may also be made to the requirement to seek ongoing counseling, treatment, or treatment where appropriate as well as to impose enhanced supervision, which upon satisfactory compliance would mitigate otherwise imposed discipline.”

Last week, Watson first admitted that he is seeking counseling in the wake of more than two dozen massage therapists who accuse him of sexual misconduct during appointments mostly in 2020 and 2021.

On Tuesday, he reached secret settlements in 20 out of 24 civil lawsuits against him, and is ready to try to clear his name in the other four cases if it comes to that.

“It’s been a long year and a half, I can tell,” Watson said last week during the mandatory mini-camp. “Personally, it has been difficult. Since I came here and since I became Cleveland Browns, I have been able to use all the resources that this organization has. I was able to start using counseling and talking to someone just to make sure my mind was straight, so I could be Willing to walk the field and be as sharp as possible.

“And I will continue to do that, to be the best person and grow as an individual, grow as a human being, and just be able to be the best citizen, the best person I can be outside of this field, and also when I come out of this building, be the best teammate and player that I can be.” .

The settlements came a week after Watson reiterated that he did not want to do so.

“I just want my name cleared and to be able to let the facts and legal process continue,” he said last week.

In the end, he decided it was the best way to start moving forward.

The decision to seek advice was a departure from his introductory press conference on March 25, in which he said he did not need it because he had done nothing wrong. Whether or not he is believed to be innocent, Watson should benefit from treatment, and it could have an impact on the NFL’s decision.

Following the 20 settlements announced Tuesday by plaintiffs attorney Tony Busby, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement, “Today’s development has no impact on the collective disciplinary process.”

But if the NFL sees Watson taking another step forward and making up even though he was determined to clear his name, he may be viewed favorably.

At the very least, Watson is receiving help, and if his accusers need help dealing with the fallout from their encounters with him, they now have the resources to get it, too. Now, neither Watson nor 20 of his accusers will have to wait years for a solution.

What’s Next

The next big step in the process is for former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson, the discipline officer appointed jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA, to determine the length of Watson’s suspension. A league source confirmed to cleveland.com that the NFL Players Association is preparing an “unprecedented” penalty, which could mean a year-long suspension, and appears to be a foregone conclusion that the league will tie it to a large number of games.

But the NFLPA is preparing for a fight, and will argue that the league has not been difficult for NFL owners Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder for alleged misconduct on their part or those in their organizations.

While the NFL could initiate a one-year suspension, the NFLPA plans to defend the non-suspension based in part on the fact that there was no evidence of wrongdoing and that two separate jurors declined to bring criminal charges against him.

But just as the non-indictment decisions didn’t mean he was innocent, the settlements aren’t an admission of guilt. Watson maintains that he did nothing wrong, but he felt it was time to put the bulk of the issues behind him, so that wasn’t a distraction for the Browns, their fans and their players.

Again, if Watson were to face four trials, he would view it as an opportunity to make his say in court and clear his name.

What is the time frame

NFL chief investigator Lisa Friel was about to end the investigation on May 24, and spoke to Watson on two occasions over a four-day period.

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Harden, told cleveland.com that the NFL had completed their interviews with Watson, although lawsuit #24 was later filed and new defendants spoke for the first time to Jenny Frentas of The New York Times.

Usually, when the NFL talks with the accused, discipline is not far behind. Some expect it to come next week, but it could be as early as this week. Friel then makes a recommendation to Robinson, who can request a hearing or more information before a decision is made.

According to the policy, “Depending on the nature of the violation and a player’s record, discipline may be a fine, suspension for a fixed or indefinite period of time, a combination of the two, or removal from the league with an opportunity to re-apply. Disciplinary may also include a probationary period and conditions that must be met in order to Return to the previous mode and remain eligible to participate.

If the Watson camp does not agree with the ruling, they will appeal to Goodell, whose word will be final.

How much are you satisfied for?

The agreements were confidential, but a memorandum in the 23rd civil lawsuit states, “We know that Deshaun Watson has offered each plaintiff $100,000 to settle their cases, but not everyone will accept that amount, due to the aggressive non-disclosure agreement proposed by Watson’s team.”

Harden may have insisted on nondisclosure agreements again, and the amount of settlements may vary.

Other plaintiffs — one of whom is Ashley Solis, the first to step forward and one of two interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” — are demanding more money or are determined to go to trial.

It is not yet known whether Buzbee still plans to file the two other civil lawsuits he said he intends to bring, or whether he will add Texas as a defendant.

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