Deshaun Watson’s suspension length widely criticized by fans, media

Aug 1, 2022, 2:13 PM
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson looks on during the NFL football team's training camp, ...

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson looks on during the NFL football team's training camp, Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. Watson was suspended without pay for six games Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by two dozen women in Texas, two people familiar with the decision said. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett, File)

(AP Photo/Nick Cammett, File)

An independent arbiter ruled Monday that the NFL will suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games amid sexual misconduct allegations. While that length is up for appeal, it wasn’t lost on NFL fans and media folks how light of a sentence it is with dozens of women having accused Watson of that misconduct.

It looks bad next to suspensions given to other players for less serious rule-breaking.

The quick comparison was to Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ six-game suspension for testing positive for a banned PED.

But Watson’s penalty was also juxtaposed next to a full-season ban of Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley for gambling on his own games and other substance-related suspensions from the NFL’s past.

Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by women alleging sexual harassment and assault during massage treatments in 2020 and 2021.

Signing with the Browns fully guaranteed Watson a $230 million, five-year contract. He will lose $345,000 if the suspension is unchanged because his base salary this season is $1.035 million. His $45 million signing bonus will not be affected by the suspension.

But never mind comparisons: Watson’s sentence length is earning plenty of criticism in a vacuum.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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