What To Know About The Allegations Against Deshaun Watson
More than 20 women have filed civil lawsuits alleging that the 26-year-old NFL quarterback sexually assaulted them.
On Aug. 18, 2022, the NFL announced that Deshaun Watson will be suspended for 11 regular season games after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
According to NPR, Watson will have to undergo a behavioral treatment program and pay a fine of $5 million, which will create a fund to support non-profit organizations that help sexual assault survivors.
The Cleveland Browns and the NFL will each give $1 million to the fund.
The 26-year-old Browns quarterback was originally suspended for six games, after a judge ruled he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
As reported by USA Today, the suspension came after more than 20 women filed civil lawsuits alleging that Watson assaulted them.
Watson was sued by 24 women who accused him of sexual misconduct in massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021, when he was employed by the Houston Texans.
All 24 of those lawsuits were settled out of court, attached with confidentiality agreements. Additionally, 30 women received settlements with the Texans after claims the football organization did nothing to stop his behavior after complaints.
The NFL, however, thought the punishment was too lax and appealed, pushing for Watson to be suspended for a longer duration, according to the Browns Wire.
Ashley Solis was one of the women who came forward about her experience with Watson. Solis alleged that Watson brought his own towel to the massage and caused his genitals to touch her without consent. After she spoke up, other women came forward.
Watson was never arrested or charged and he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in March. He denied wrongdoing initially but has since offered an apology.
"I want to say that I'm truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation," Watson said, as reported by NFL.com. "The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back, but I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character and I am going to keep pushing forward."
Watson’s 11-game suspension will begin the first game of the regular season in September 2022.