Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson apologized Friday “to all the women I have impacted” after being accused by two dozen ladies of sexual misconduct throughout therapeutic massage remedy classes.
Watson, who’s dealing with a possible year-long NFL suspension, spoke earlier than Cleveland’s exhibition opener in Jacksonville — his first sport since Jan. 3, 2021, with the Houston Texans.
Watson was suspended six video games earlier this month by unbiased arbiter Sue L. Robinson, who concluded he violated the league’s private conduct coverage with “egregious” and “predatory” habits.
As a part of her determination, the retired federal choose famous Watson’s lack of regret.
Watson was requested in a pregame TV interview for his response to Robinson’s place that he hasn’t been contrite.
“Look, I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson mentioned within the interview. “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 was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting the ladies throughout the remedy classes in 2020 and 2021. He has at all times denied wrongdoing and grand juries in two Texas counties declined to indict him on prison complaints.
The three-time Professional Bowler settled 23 of 24 civil lawsuits.
Nevertheless, he’s nonetheless dealing with self-discipline from the league, which appealed Robinson’s penalty and is searching for a full-season ban together with a major positive over $5 million and for Watson to endure analysis and therapy earlier than he might be reinstated.
The enchantment is now with Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey lawyer basic appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
There’s no timetable on Harvey’s determination. It’s additionally potential the perimeters may work out a settlement. On Thursday, an individual aware of Watson’s protection instructed AP that the 26-year-old would comply with an eight-game suspension and $5 million positive.
The individual spoke on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the high-profile case.
Watson has continued to apply and was enthusiastic about making his debut with Cleveland, which traded three-first-round picks to Houston for him in March and signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract.
Relying on Harvey’s ruling, Watson might be away from the Browns for an prolonged interval. He was requested what sort of private progress he hoped to make.
“I know I have a lot of work to put in, especially on the field to be able to make sure I’m ready to play whenever that time comes whenever I can step back on the field,” he mentioned. “But also, the biggest thing is I want to continue counseling and I want to make sure that I’m growing as a person, as an individual for my decision-making on and off the field.
“I want to make sure that I’m just evolving in the community as much as possible, and that is for the Cleveland community, that is the NFL community and beyond.” ___
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