News is not good for former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
ESPN reporter Jeremey Fowler reports the Houston quarterback could be suspended by the NFL even if he is exonerated of all claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, which has NFL teams interested in trading for Watson concerned.
Watson is facing a civil lawsuit where 22 women have alleged he was not professional to them while receiving massage therapy treatments. The Houston Police Department also said it received a complaint last week on Watson and they are now investigating the claim.
Before all the allegations of sexual assault were first released three weeks ago, Watson was in the middle of the trade news after he asked to be traded out of Houston in February. But trade talks for the three-time All-Pro have slowed down dramatically.
Fowler said the sexual assault allegations have NFL teams staying away from Watson at the moment. The teams that were interested in Watson’s services are concerned he may receive some kind of suspension from the league at some point.
“The league closely evaluated all the documentation and the proceedings from last week, including the back-and-forth between Rusty Hardin and (the plaintiffs’ lawyer) Tony Buzbee,” Fowler said Saturday on SportsCenter. “But I’m told that as far as an immediate action, there might not be anything for a while.”
On Friday, two judges ruled in emergency hearings that 13 plaintiffs must refile their claims in two business days under their name.
All 12 lawsuits that were heard Friday afternoon by Judge Rabeea Sultan Collier in the 113th district court must be refiled in two business days with the names of the plaintiffs attached. Earlier on Friday, another Harris County judge ruled one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits must identify herself. The ruling was made by Judge Dedra Davis in the 270th District Court.
But Watson is not in the clear, especially with the NFL. After Friday’s hearings, Hardin spoke to the media and said Watson did have some consensual encounters with some of the women who filed a lawsuit against him, but he never engaged in any acts that were not reciprocated.
“A source told me that the commissioner exempt list, which Roger Goodell sometimes uses for players who have had off-field issues who have to stay away from their team until they come to a decision on a suspension,” Fowler said. “I’m told they wouldn’t use that until closer to the season if they do use it because there really isn’t anything to be exempt from right now. Voluntary workouts are coming up but that’s a little bit different.”
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