AP sources: Watson to meet with NFL disciplinary officer
By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s short-term future with the Browns could be coming into focus.
Cleveland’s quarterback will have a hearing next week with NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, three people familiar with the scheduled meeting told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Watson, who is facing a potential suspension from the league stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct by two dozen massage therapists in Texas, will meet with Robinson on Tuesday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been disclosed publicly.
It’s not yet know how long Watson is scheduled to meet with Robinson.
The hearing is a significant development in Watson’s case as Robinson will decide if the 26-year-old violated the league’s personal conduct policy. The league is expected to recommend significant discipline for Watson, who will be defended by the NFL Players Association in the high-profile case.
ESPN was first to report Watson’s meeting with Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and NFL Players Association in 2020. This is the first case the former federal judge has heard under the league’s revised disciplinary procedure. Previously, Commissioner Roger Goodell handled these matters.
Earlier this week, Watson reached undisclosed financial settlements in civil lawsuits filed by 20 of his 24 accusers. The women claimed he had harassed, assaulted or touched them during sessions when he played for Houston.
The four remaining cases could still go to trial, but that wouldn’t happen until 2023.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and said sex with three of the women was consensual.
The league has said Watson’s settlements will not affect its investigation. If Robinson finds Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy, he’ll likely be suspended for multiple games if not longer.
Robinson is expected to rule before the Browns open training camp later next month.
Cleveland signed Watson to a five-year, $230 million contract in March after convincing the three-time Pro Bowler to waive his no-trade clause and join a team looking to bounce back after a disappointing 8-9 season. He had been pursued by several other teams as well.
AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.
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