Baltimore Sun

Decision delayed on Watson case

Brissett would start if the QB receives a suspension

- By Rob Maaddi

The wait for a decision on potential discipline for Browns quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson following accusation­s of sexual misconduct will continue into another week.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that retired judge Sue L. Robinson is not issuing a ruling Friday on Watson’s disciplina­ry hearing that concluded a month ago. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the discussion­s are private.

Watson was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits filed against him.

Four lawsuits remain pending and the attorney representi­ng the women has said he hopes to take them to trial sometime next spring.

Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegation­s.

Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, has been practicing with the Browns while Robinson has spent weeks trying to determine whether the three-time Pro Bowl quarterbac­k violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

The league argued for an indefinite suspension of at least one year during a three-day hearing in Delaware last month. The NFL Players’ Associatio­n pushed for no punishment, though a person familiar with Watson’s defense told the AP in June that a suspension is expected and the goal is to have Watson play this season.

Both sides submitted post-hearing briefs by July 12 and hoped for a decision before training camp opened this week. Robinson is carefully considerin­g the case and isn’t held to a deadline.

If Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the players’ union, imposes any punishment, either side can appeal.

In that case, NFL Commission­er Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete dispositio­n of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.

Jacoby Brissett would replace Watson as the Browns’ starting quarterbac­k during a suspension.

“With Deshaun, I know there is that uncertaint­y, like we talked about (Wednesday), but we can only control what we can control,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Thursday. “I think that is what he has done a very nice job of. So much of that in football is there is a lot of volume to what we are doing right now when it comes to football, so there are a lot of meetings, there is a lot of install and there is a lot of workout, walkthroug­h and practice. He has really thrown himself into that.”

Earlier this month, 30 women who had accused the Texans of turning a blind eye to the allegation­s against Watson settled their legal claims against the team.

 ?? NICK CAMMETT/AP ?? Browns quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson looks on during the team’s training camp on Thursday in Berea, Ohio.
NICK CAMMETT/AP Browns quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson looks on during the team’s training camp on Thursday in Berea, Ohio.

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