NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for a significantly longer time than the original six-game banishment that was recommended by an independent arbitrator in early August.
After days of intense negotiations between Watson’s legal team and the NFL, the embattled superstar play caller will now be required to stay off the field for 11 games for violation of the NFL personal conduct policy, reports USA Today.
He will also be fined an astronomical $5 million and will have to undergo mandatory counseling for his reportedly wayward behavior.
The punishment is more than what Watson had agreed upon when retired Judge Sue L. Robinson had handed down. However, the suspension is less than the entire season ban that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had sought. In a statement, Goodell called Watson’s behavior “egregious” and “predatory.”
Watson allegedly engaged in sexual impropriety and harassment with more than two dozen female massage therapists while a member of the Houston Texans over a 19-month period in 2020 and 2021.
All but one of the 24 civil lawsuits against Watson have been settled out of court. Many of the women had also filed suit against the Texans, whom they alleged had helped facilitate the massages. The Texans have since settled with the women.
During Watson’s absence from the team, NFL journeyman Jacoby Brissett has been designated as the starter who will start at quarterback until such time that Watson is cleared to return to the team in Week 13 of the NFL season.