Watson’s discipline didn’t require legal charges

Rob Maaddi Ap Pro Football Writer
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

When two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Deshaun Watson on criminal complaints stemming from allegations of sexual assault or harassment by 24 women, it didn’t clear the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback from facing consequences from the NFL.

Watson and the Cleveland Browns found out the severity of his punishment on Monday, when he was suspended six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He won't be paid while suspended, though he won't lose as much as he would have if the NFL had its way.

Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson made the decision after the NFL pushed for an indefinite suspension of at least one year and Watson’s legal team argued for no punishment during a three-day hearing that concluded June 30.

A look at the issue:

WHY WAS WATSON DISCIPLINED IF HE NEVER FACED LEGAL CHARGES?

A player does not have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to be disciplined for conduct detrimental to the league, per the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association. Ezekiel Elliott, Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston and Kareem Hunt are among the many players who have received suspensions for various infractions despite not being charged criminally.

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