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Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson Suspended Six Games Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The star quarterback was accused by 24 different female massage therapists of sexual assault or misconduct. He has denied wrongdoing.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.

CBS Sports reports that former federal judge Sue L. Robinson issued the ruling Monday (Aug. 1) after hearing testimony regarding the ex-Houston Texans QB’s off-field conduct. He faced civil lawsuits from 24 different female massage therapists who accused him of sexual assault or misconduct during their sessions with the three-time NFL Pro Bowler.

Watson, 26, has reached a settlement in 20 of the 24 lawsuits but has always denied wrongdoing. Two different Texas grand juries declined to file criminal charges against him.

There were multiple reports that indicated the NFL wanted Watson suspended for at least a full season, according to CBS Sports.

But ESPN reported that Robinson concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to justify an indefinite suspension. The players' union, which argued that Watson should not get a suspension, has said  it will "stand by" Robinson's ruling and urged league officials to do likewise. Either side would have three days to submit an appeal in writing.

RELATED: Deshaun Watson Reaches Settlements In Civil Lawsuits

RELATED: Deshaun Watson Says He ‘Never Forced Anyone’ In Response To Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Despite the suspension, Watson is still eligible to practice with his team during the preseason and during the second half of the suspension, in week four, according to ESPN. He will miss regular season games against the Panthers, Jets, Steelers, Falcons, Charges and Patriots. His first game back, in week seven, will be against the Ravens in Baltimore.

CBS Sports reports that the Browns aggressively pursued a deal to bring the former Clemson Tigers college football star to Cleveland, even though he faced 22 active lawsuits at the time.

In a blockbuster trade with the Texans in March, the Browns signed Watson to a five-year guaranteed contract worth $230 million, the largest guaranteed deal in NFL history, Sports Illustrated reported.

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