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Amid 11-game suspension from the NFL, one civil case remains for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson

One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped, with Watson settling 20 of the cases in June and three others on August 1.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached a settlement on the field with the NFL, accepting an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine.

However, one off-the-field civil lawsuit is still pending. 

Watson has been accused of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, since 2021. While two Texas grand juries declined to indict the 26-year-old on criminal charges, 25 women, who were each represented by Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee, filed civil lawsuits against Watson.

"As it stands now, that case could continue on for a year, could continue on for two years," civil attorney Kani Hightower explained. "There's really no effect of that case on him, because he's already been disciplined."

One of the lawsuits was dropped, with Watson settling 20 of the cases in June and three others on August 1. Among those announcing their settlements two weeks ago was Ashley Solis, who was one of the first victims to sue Watson and speak publicly. 

Buzbee criticized the 11-game suspension and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement released on Thursday afternoon:

"By settling this matter the way he has, Roger Goodell has proven one of two things: either his recent rhetoric was utter baloney, or his bark is much worse than his bite. My belief is that he is nothing more than a paper tiger. The message today to all victims is clear, if you believe you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and go away. The NFL has certainly demonstrated that it’s ownership and the organization doesn’t care.

"To all sexual assault survivors, do not allow this recent 'punishment' to deter you. Keep speaking up and keep speaking out. Your voice matters. You are making a difference. We stand with you."

Details about the settlements remain confidential. Buzbee has declined to share details beyond referring to the settlement talks as "lengthy and intense." Regarding the remaining unsettled case, Buzbee said he is continuing to discuss the case with Watson's legal team as appropriate. 

"We have essentially seen this play out in almost every major legal arena," defense lawyer Tera Coleman explained. "A criminal grand jury, civil litigation, and then you have kind of your private sector, mediation arbitration-type setting."

"I don't know that it's surprising in terms of an organization such as the NFL, but the fact that it played out in the public ... it teaches the public a lot about what actually happens in the law," Hightower added.

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