Deshaun Watson suspension watch: A have a look at different main NFL self-discipline over the past 15 years

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All eyes are on the NFL because it reportedly prepares to finalize its investigation of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, essentially the most polarizing participant of the 2022 offseason. Watson has proclaimed his innocence within the face of 24 — and reportedly quickly to be 26 — civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct throughout his Texans profession. And his new workforce, which dedicated a report $230 million to the QB as a part of its blockbuster acquisition of him this 12 months, has publicly defended him. But all indicators level to the league suspending Watson for at the very least a part of 2022, if not the entire season, whereas imposing its private conduct coverage.

Players don’t have to be criminally charged with a purpose to violate the coverage, and Watson falls in that camp: two totally different Texas grand juries have declined to indict the QB this offseason, even whereas extra ladies have accused the previous first-round draft decide of being a “serial predator” and the New York Times has reported Watson used at the very least 66 non-public therapeutic massage therapists over a 17-month span throughout his time in Houston — dozens of which now allege he violated them.

But is there a precedent for a possible Watson suspension? Not an ideal one, by any means; not often has a participant of his stature, at his place, confronted such a excessive quantity of accusations and but additionally been freed from prison fees. The NFL‘s historical past of participant self-discipline additionally lacks a definite sample, particularly since new standards were only implemented in 2014 in response to the notorious Ray Rice case, when the league unsuccessfully tried to enact a second, indefinite suspension on the ex-Ravens working again as soon as video surfaced of the participant’s assault, which had beforehand been punished with a mere two-game ban.

Still, if you happen to’re searching for a possible baseline suspension for Watson, it won’t damage to evaluate the bans issued to starters or different gamers with notable roles over the past 15 years, because the league’s largest updates to the non-public conduct coverage in 2007:

Note: Suspensions for violations of the NFL’s private conduct coverage differ from suspensions for in-game guidelines violations, comparable to pointless roughness or preventing; in addition to team-imposed suspensions and bans associated to the integrity of the sport (i.e. Calvin Ridley’s 2022 ban for playing, or Tom Brady’s 2018 suspension for his alleged function in Deflategate).


RB Derrius Guice

Free agent (Washington)


Assault, battery (fees dropped)


WR Antonio Brown

Free agent


Burglary, battery fees
2019 RB Kareem Hunt Browns 8 Assault incident (no fees)
2019 DT Jarran Reed Seahawks 6 Alleged assault (no fees)
2019 OG Richie Incognito Raiders 2 Disorderly conduct cost
2018 LB Mychal Kendricks Seahawks 8 Insider buying and selling fees
2018 QB Jameis Winston Buccaneers 3 Alleged sexual assault (no fees)
2018 DE Dante Fowler Jr. Jaguars 1 Simple battery cost
2018 CB Jimmy Smith Ravens 4 Alleged home violence (no fees)
2018 LB Nigel Bradham Eagles 1 Alleged assault (no fees)
2017 RB Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys 6 Alleged assault, home violence (no fees)
2017 Ok Josh Brown Free agent 6 Domestic violence (fees dropped)
2017 CB Adam “Pacman” Jones Bengals 1 Assault (fees decreased)
2016 DL Sheldon Richardson Jets 1 Speeding cost
2016 Ok Josh Brown Giants 1 Domestic violence (fees dropped)
2015 S T.J. Ward Broncos 1 Assault (fees decreased)
2015 OLB Aldon Smith Raiders Indefinite (reinstated 2020) DUI, hit-and-run, vandalism fees
2015 DE Greg Hardy Cowboys 4 (decreased from 10) Assault (fees dropped)
2014 DE Aldon Smith 49ers 9 Weapons fees, different incidents
2014 LB Daryl Washington Cardinals Indefinite (reinstated 2017) Aggravated assault fees, drug use
2014 RB Adrian Peterson Vikings Indefinite (reinstated 2015) Misdemeanor baby abuse fees
2014 RB Ray Rice Ravens 2 Aggravated assault (fees dropped)
2010 QB Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 4 (decreased from 6) Alleged sexual assault (no fees)
2010 WR Vincent Jackson Chargers 3 DUI fees
2010 CB Aqib Talib Buccaneers 1 Assault cost
2009 RB Marshawn Lynch Bills 3 Weapons cost
2008 CB Adam “Pacman” Jones Cowboys 4 Alleged altercation (no fees)
2008 OT Bryant McKinnie Vikings 4 Aggravated battery fees
2008 WR Brandon Marshall Broncos 1 (decreased from 3) Alleged home violence, DUI (no fees)
2007 QB Michael Vick Falcons Indefinite (reinstated 2009, after 2 video games) Felony dogfighting fees
2007 DT Tank Johnson Bears 8 Weapons fees
2007 WR Chris Henry Bengals 8 Weapons fees, different incidents
2007 CB Adam “Pacman” Jones Titans 16 Alleged assault (decreased fees)

So what is the takeaway? Only the NFL can reply that correctly, as a result of the NFL continues to be investigating Watson and, theoretically, has a greater understanding of the QB’s conduct, having spoken with the brand new Browns signal-caller and reviewed accusations made towards him. Previous incidents of alleged sexual assault or misconduct involving QBs has produced comparatively delicate suspensions (see: Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston drawing a mixed seven-game ban), however with Watson, the distinction is there are actually two dozen totally different ladies alleging a sample of abuse. Roethlisberger and Winston, it ought to be famous, additionally averted formal fees regarding their respective instances.

It appears cheap, particularly in gentle of <em>The Washington Post</em>’s Friday report that the NFL is more likely to search at the very least a one-year ban for Watson, to imagine the QB will likely be suspended for a lot of the 2022 season, his first in Cleveland. Watson hasn’t made any indication a method or one other relating to his plans relating to a possible suspension enchantment, however his contract with the Browns is particularly structured in order to keep away from main monetary losses attributable to a suspension in 2022.

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Cody Benjamin

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