CLEVELAND — Tuesday was a significant day in the legal case of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct against him. Terms of the settlements are confidential.
Watson had been adamant through last week's minicamp that he had no plans to settle the lawsuits. So what changed?
"I think he weighed the benefit of resolving this with money," said Akron-based attorney Walter Madison, who joined Jim Donovan on Tuesday evening's Front Row. "A civil lawsuit ends one way, paying money. He (Watson) has a lot of it, they were going to reach a settlement eventually. It is no way an indication that he did anything wrong, but he has many other things on his mind."
Tuesday's settlement announcement comes as Watson still faces possible punishment by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. According to the Washington Post, the NFL is preparing to present the findings of its investigation to Sue L. Robinson, the former U.S. district judge who is the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association under the current version of the conduct policy. The league hopes the entire disciplinary process, including the resolution of any potential appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person designated by him, is completed by the start of training camp, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
"Everything in life is timing," added attorney Henry Hilow. "The NFL didn't want this lingering over its head, so I think there was pressure from the NFL. The Houston Texans didn't want it hanging over their heads and obviously the Browns didn't."
And what of the four women who are still holding out and suing Watson?
"Sometimes they hold out on principle. It might mean there's a point they want to get to, that they're really stuck to a cause. It may mean there's a monetary amount they want to get to," explained attorney Kani Hightower.
Kani Hightower also provided perspective on the settlement with Russ Mitchell on 3News at 6. You can watch in the player below:
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