Watson will endure “a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program,” based on the settlement.
“I’m moving on with my career and my life, and I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence,” Watson advised the media Thursday. “Just because settlements and things like that happen, doesn’t mean that person is guilty for anything.”
He added, “I feel like the person has the opportunity to stand on his innocence, and prove that, and we proved that on the legal side, and we’ve just got to continue to push forward as an individual and as a person.”
Twenty-four civil lawsuits had been filed in opposition to Watson; 23 have been settled confidentially. Two grand juries in Texas declined to cost Watson criminally.
‘Deshaun Watson deserves a second probability’
Susan “Dee” Haslam, co-owner of the Browns, on Thursday vowed to take a position $1 million “towards educating youth for awareness of sexual misconduct.”
“We as an organization and as individuals, we have tremendous empathy for the women involved and we have an opportunity to make a difference in this community,” she advised reporters.
Her husband and staff co-owner, Jimmy Haslam, mentioned, “People deserve second chances.”
“Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be part of society? Does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? And that’s what we’re going to do,” he mentioned, referring to Watson.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have empathy for people affected and we will continue to do so,” he added. “We believe that Deshaun Watson deserves a second chance.”
The NFL had beforehand introduced that it could attraction a choice by former federal decide Sue L. Robinson to sit down Watson with out pay for six video games for violating the league’s private conduct coverage when he was with the Houston Texans.
The league had been pushing for at the least a full-season suspension as an alternative.
Goodell said Thursday: “Deshaun has committed to doing the hard work on himself that is necessary for his return to the NFL.
“This settlement requires compliance with an expert analysis and therapy plan, a big advantageous, and a extra substantial suspension.”
In her written ruling, Robinson cited Watson’s “lack of expressed regret” as a factor in the discipline that she chose.
The Browns QB released a statement on Thursday saying in part: “I am grateful that the disciplinary course of has ended and very appreciative of the great help I’ve acquired all through my quick time with the Browns group.
“I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made.”
Previous to the settlement, Watson was awaiting the ruling from former New Jersey Lawyer Common and federal prosecutor Peter Harvey, who was named as Goodell’s designee to listen to the attraction.
Watson didn’t play final season whereas a member of the Texans. Watson did play within the Browns first preseason recreation final week.
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski advised reporters on Thursday that Watson is not going to play within the staff’s ultimate two preseason video games. Backup Jacoby Brissett will begin rather than Watson till he’s eligible to return on December 4.
Based on the NFL, Watson can be eligible to play in week 13, in opposition to his former staff the Texans.
Earlier than the quick interview, Watson repeatedly denied allegations of misconduct, together with sexual assault and harassment involving greater than two dozen girls. He didn’t elaborate within the interview on what he meant when he mentioned “this situation.”
A 3-time Professional Bowler, Watson didn’t play final season with the Texans due to a commerce demand in addition to the investigations into these allegations.
Earlier this yr, the Browns traded three first-round picks for Watson after which signed him to a five-year, totally assured $230 million contract, probably the most assured cash in NFL historical past.
CNN’s Matt Foster and Homero De La Fuente contributed to this report.