Deshaun Watson saga: NFL reportedly wants indefinite ban for Browns QB

The NFL is reportedly seeking an indefinite suspension of at least a year for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson at his disciplinary hearing over sexual misconduct allegations.

Another chapter of the Deshaun Watson saga is set to begin with the NFL disciplinary hearing into his alleged sexual misconduct starting.

The NFL has been holding an independent investigation into Cleveland Browns quarterback Watson and whether he violated the league's personal conduct policy when he was accused of sexual misconduct by 24 massage therapists.

Despite Watson settling 20 of those civil lawsuits privately, he still faces a potentially huge punishment as the league is thought to want an indefinite ban of at least one full season - according to multiple reports in America.

Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA), will rule on the case at some point before training camps begin at the end of July.

If either side appeals against Judge Robinson's ruling, that will be handled by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Have the Browns made a huge error signing Watson?

The Browns insisted they had done their due diligence on Watson before they handed him a record $230million fully guaranteed contract in March.

Watson had previously refused to play for his former team the Houston Texans for all of last season after requesting a trade before these allegations came to light in March 2021.

The Browns gave up three first-round picks in the NFL Draft to sign Watson, before handing him that record-breaking contract, but now could be left in all kinds of trouble.

Last year's starting QB Baker Mayfield had been told he is surplus to requirements, and it would be an embarrassing climb down if Cleveland have to try and then persuade him to play on for another year if Watson is suspended.

Even then, they'll have a huge amount of money tied up in a player that would have spent at least two seasons out of the game, depending on the length of suspension, so at least would be more than a little rusty.

Watson still maintains his innocence

Watson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, and the NFLPA legal team will argue that there is no precedent for a suspension of this length for allegations of this kind.

The NFL have spoken to a handful of the plaintiffs of the civil lawsuits, but a report in the Wall Street Journal says that even these few cases could be crucial.

"League officials believe those allegations in particular are objectively provable and establish a clear and disturbing pattern of behavior from Watson," read the WSJ report.

Watson, though, still insists that he is innocent of all sexual misconduct allegations and says he has cooperated fully with the NFL investigation.

"I met with the NFL a couple weeks ago, and I did everything they asked me to do, I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me," Watson told reports on June 14.

"I spent hours with the people they brought down, and that's all I can do is just be honest and tell them exactly what happened.

"I know they have a job and so I have to respect that, and that's what we wanted to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's for the league."

READ MORE: Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson settles 20 of 24 civil lawsuits

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