The wait for a decision on a possible disciplinary action for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson following allegations of sexual misconduct will continue for another week.
Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that retired Judge Sue L. Robinson will not issue a ruling Friday on Watson’s disciplinary case, which concluded a month ago. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity as the discussions are private.
Watson has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil suits filed against him. Four lawsuits remain pending, and the attorney representing the women hopes to bring them to court sometime next spring.
Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges stemming from the allegations.
Watson, who played four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, coached with the Browns while Robinson has spent weeks trying to determine if the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback violated the NFL’s personal conduct guidelines and whether disciplinary action needs to be taken.
The league pleaded for an indefinite suspension of at least a year during a three-day hearing in Delaware last month. The NFL Players’ Association urged no punishment, although a person familiar with Watson’s defense told the AP in June that a suspension is expected and the goal is to keep Watson playing this season.
Both sides submitted letters after the hearing by July 12, hoping for a decision before the training camp opens this week. Robinson reviews the case carefully and is not bound by a deadline.
If Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the players’ union, is handed a penalty, either side can appeal. In that event, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee will “enter a written decision constituting a full, final and complete settlement of the dispute,” under the terms of Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Jacoby Brissett would replace Watson as Cleveland’s starter during a suspension.
“With Deshaun, I know there’s this uncertainty that we talked about (Wednesday) but we can only control what we can control,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Thursday. “I think that’s what he did very well. So much of that in football is that we have a lot of volume in football right now, so there’s a lot of meetings, there’s a lot of installations, and there’s a lot of workouts, walkthroughs, and practice. He really got into it.”
Earlier this month, 30 women who accused the Houston Texans of ignoring allegations against Watson settled their legal claims against the team.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers and contributed to this report.
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