Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to meet with NFL representatives this week as part of the league’s investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct made against him, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Monday.
Watson faces potential disciplinary measures by the league under its personal conduct policy. Under a process that was revised in the most recent collective bargaining agreement completed in 2020, the initial ruling on a prospective suspension or fine will be made by a disciplinary officer appointed by the NFL and the players’ union. Commissioner Roger Goodell still has the authority to resolve an appeal by either side of the initial ruling.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to charge Watson with a crime. He faces 22 active civil lawsuits by women accusing him of behavior including making inappropriate comments, exposing himself and forcing his penis on women’s hands during massage therapy sessions. Watson and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, have denied the allegations.
The Browns completed a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson, 26, in March and signed him to a new contract worth a guaranteed $230 million over five seasons. Watson did not play last season, having been placed on the Texans’ inactive list on a weekly basis.
The league is expected to interview Watson “at great length” as part of its investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter, but has given no indication of a timetable for a resolution on potential disciplinary measures.
CBS Sports reported that this week’s meeting between Watson and the NFL investigators is expected to take place in Texas.
“We’re taking it very seriously,” Goodell said during an interview with ESPN at the NFL draft last month in Las Vegas. “The NFL’s personal conduct policy is the issue that we will be focused on. Our investigators are working on that. When they’re complete with that, then they’ll submit it to a disciplinary officer who is selected by the union and management. And they’ll make a decision at that point in time. So there’s no timetable on it. Obviously the investigation is still ongoing. We’re going to take it seriously.”