The NFL’s disciplinary action case against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson began by looking at 12 that have accused him of sexual misconduct. The group has reportedly been whittled down to just four st a judge decides what will be the punishment for the star QB.
On Monday, CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson reported that the NFL’s original investigation into his conduct of Watson during personal massages started with conversations involving a dozen women that made serious claims against him, but that the number had been trimmed down in the final disciplinary case that is being heard this week.
“I’m told there are only 4 women currently ‘at issue’ in the Deshaun Watson proceeding. The NFL concluded not to pursue 8 of 12 women interviewed. Re: a ‘5th’ woman, the league tried to pursue but never interviewed her. The league’s scope is currently limited to 4, per source,” Anderson wrote on Twitter.
What does this mean for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson and his impending suspension?
Watson faced claims from 24 different women in separate civil actions in recent months. That has also been whittled down to a far smaller amount after recent court settlements. This likely means there are still several accusations where the evidence is pretty strong and will require a serious legal resolution.
That also seems to be the case in the ongoing battle between the NFL and Watson. Pro Football Talk reported on Monday that “the decision by the league to cut to five from four may not have been voluntary. The fifth woman’s claim, we’re told, may have been based solely on a media report.”
Briefs for the case were reportedly due in on Tuesday, with a decision likely to come at the end of the month. While there are some who believe that Watson could be suspended for the entire season, the fact that the league’s investigation found that many of the claims were not worth the effort of bringing forward in a hearing might be good news for Watson. Leaving the door open so that he could play in 2022.
However, if there is evidence that there were serious offenses in the four remaining claims put before Judge Sue L. Robinson, then it may be a situation of quality over quantity and Watson could still be in a great deal of trouble.