Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension has fans and fellow NFL players confused.
On Monday, the Cleveland Browns quarterback was handed down the suspension after a decision by U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson — the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and players’ union to determine whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.
Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson tweeted, “Free my dawg!!” in a picture alongside Calvin Ridley after the receiver was suspended for a full season for gambling on the NFL.
“Deshaun Watson bout to get 6-8 games for sexual assault but [Calvin] Ridley gets 1 year for gambling [$]1500,” a fan tweeted.
“Tom Brady got 4 (games) for deflating a football,” Chicago Sun-Times reporter Patrick Finley tweeted.
“The league wants to hold their players to high standards,” one NFL GM said about Watson’s six-game suspension. “Image is critical to keep growing the female fan base. I’d be surprised if the NFL doesn’t appeal for that reason.”
Watson’s camp doesn’t agree with the suspension and feels six games “is too much,” Diana Russini reported on ESPN’s morning show, “Get Up.”
“They stand by his claim that he did not do anything wrong,” Russini said.
The most bizarre reaction may belong to NFL reporter Chad Forbes:
Watson has maintained his innocence since the sexual assault allegations were made public last March.
Three of the remaining four women with active lawsuits against Watson have reached confidential settlements with the Cleveland quarterback to end those cases, according to their attorney, Tony Buzbee. In total, 25 women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021.
The NFL has three days to submit an appeal of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robins’s ruling. The Browns are reportedly waiting to see if the league will appeal.
The NFL Players Association issued a statement on Sunday stating that it would not appeal Robinson’s ruling.
Watson, who has not played since the 2020 season, was traded from the Texans to the Browns in March — when Cleveland signed the quarterback to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.