Deshaun Watson is reportedly frustrated with the suspension that is now finalized.
But he will accept it.
The star Browns quarterback has been banned 11 games and docked $5 million “for violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy,” the league said in a statement Thursday.
Originally, retired federal judge Sue Robinson handed down a six-game suspension, which commissioner Roger Goodell appealed. The NFL and NFL Players Association reached a settlement concerning a player who has faced dozens of sexual misconduct allegations.
Publicly, Watson said he is “grateful” the punishment appears to be final and takes “accountability” for “decisions” that he did not explain.
In a news conference in Cleveland, Watson told reporters he apologized because “there were a lot of people triggered,” and he maintained his innocence.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, Watson’s camp was “never happy” with how the process played out but continuing to fight it would have taken too long.
“They were never happy with the six games, they wanted zero,” Russini said. “To get 11, now adds to their frustration because they truly stand by the fact that he did not assault any women.”
He will miss the first 11 games of the season and is eligible to play in Week 13 — when the Browns face his former team, the Texans, in Houston. Russini stressed that the league is insisting that Watson seek treatment and he could be suspended further, if not.
“I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson said in a statement.
“I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made. My focus going forward is on working to become the best version of myself on and off the field and supporting my teammates however possible while I’m away from the team. I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”
The NFL’s statement said Watson would undergo mandatory evaluation by behavioral experts and “will follow their treatment program.”