CLEVELAND — The decision is in. According to multiple reports, the NFL's Disciplinary Officer, former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson, has issued a six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Shortly after news of Robinson's decision was first made public, the Voice of the Browns and 3News' Jim Donovan weighed in on Watson's suspension. He also had more to say about the ruling later in the day following practice in Berea. You can see Jimmy's takes in the players above and below.
"Six games was really at the level the Browns were comfortable with when they went into the trade talks and got the trade done with the Houston Texans," Donovan said. "The Browns' original thought was they could handle a six-game suspension with the thought at the time of the trade being that maybe there was an appeals process that could get that knocked down to four games. But six games was the line in the sand that they kind of drew for themselves that they would be comfortable with.
"After the trade, things of course changed and then there was talk that the NFL had dug in and had wanted to go with a year-long suspension -- and indefinite suspension. And that was a real problem for the Browns."
Instead, Watson will be suspended six games to start his first season in Cleveland -- although both the league and the NFL Players Association have the ability to make an appeal, which would then be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee.
Robinson's ruling comes after several women accused Watson of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, during his time with the Houston Texans. In total, 25 women -- primarily massage therapists in the Houston area -- filed lawsuits against the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, who has since reached settlements on 23 of those 24 civil suits, with a 25th suit having been dropped.
Watson has publicly maintained his innocence in the matter.
While two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, the NFL conducted its own investigation into the matter, with Robinson ruling that the Clemson product violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Barring an appeal, he’ll now miss the first six games of the 2021 NFL season and is eligible to return to the field of the Browns’ Week 7 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 23.