CLEVELAND — After months of waiting, we finally know how long Deshaun Watson will be sidelined after the Browns quarterback agreed to an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Watson will also pay a fine of $5 million and has been ordered to undergo mental health counseling.
The punishment by the league comes amid allegations of sexual misconduct made against Watson by more than 20 women. The 26-year-old Watson was accused of sexually harassing and coercing women during massage therapy sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.
In response to the Watson punishment, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center issued the following statement on Thursday:
“Cleveland Rape Crisis Center stands with those who have been hurt by Deshaun Watson. While traditional avenues of criminal justice may have failed his accusers, today’s NFL and NFLPA settlement of increased punishment is a step towards validating their experiences. Healing comes to survivors in many forms. Cleveland Rape Crisis Center believes and supports survivors. Continued headlines are triggering for many. Our staff is available 24/7/365 online or by calling/texting (216) 619-6192.”
The mission of the center is to eliminate sexual violence, support survivors, and promote healing and prevention, according to Donisha Greene, director of community engagement at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
Earlier this month, Greene told 3News' Isabel Lawrence that since the news that Watson was potentially joining the Browns, the center has received a “huge” response from the community.”
“Our donations, our calls to the hotline have gone up,” she said. “We know that for survivors of sexual assault and violence, this story means something to them.”
Meanwhile, 3News' Neil Fischer spoke with Robyn Lockner, creator of the Cleveland Browns Women's Group on Facebook. She says of Watson's suspension, "I want to see him back out there as soon as possible. Obviously as Browns fans, we want to win. The sooner we can get him on the field, the better it is for everybody...the fans, the organization, the team."
Lockner says the reaction on her Facebook group has been mixed. Some women are supporting Watson, while others are not.
More Deshaun Watson coverage:
- Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson and NFL reach settlement on 11-game suspension, $5 million fine
- Social media reacts to 11-game suspension against Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson
- Amid 11-game suspension from the NFL, one civil case remains for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson
- How does Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson's 11-game suspension compare with other NFL personal conduct policy punishments?
- JIMMY'S TAKE | 3News' Jim Donovan reacts to suspension for Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson: '11 games is a totally different story'
- Deshaun Watson: Why did Cleveland Browns QB get suspended 11 games?