NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WNCN) — “More egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL,” a 16-page report concluded about the sexual assault allegations surrounding Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in early August.
Although all but one woman has settled her claims, 24 originally sued the signal-caller — and 10 more criminal complaints followed.
Retired Federal Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy because of sexual misconduct allegations, including sexual assault, conduct posing a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.
However, Judge Robinson issued a six-game suspension, instead of at least a full season, like the NFL vocally said it wanted.
A league official told The Associated Press before Watson’s three-day disciplinary hearing concluded in June that the NFL wanted to avoid an appeal, but following backlash from media, fans and others, the NFL filed an appeal.
The NFL argued for an unprecedented punishment and wanted to fine Watson at least $5 million, a person familiar with the discussions told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the hearing was private.
But, on Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL Network’s James Palmer that he himself is pushing for a year suspension for Watson due to his “egregious” and “predatory behavior”.
“We’ve seen the evidence. (Judge Robinson) was very clear about the evidence… there (were) multiple violations here, and they were egregious, and it was predatory behavior,” Goodell told Palmer. “Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”
The discipline case will be reviewed by New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, theScore’s Daniel Valente reports.
Laura Morrison, Talia Naquin, Ed Gallek, Darcie Loreno, Peggy Gallek, Daniel Valente and the Associated Press contributed to this report.