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TIMELINE: A look back at events leading up to Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson's 11-game suspension

Deshaun Watson was given an 11-game suspension and fined $5 million on Thursday, following a settlement.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Aug. 18, 2022. 

After a long ongoing battle with the league, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson learned of his fate for the 2022-23 NFL season. 

On Thursday, Watson received an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine, following a settlement with the NFL and NFLPA.

Take a look back at the timeline of events that have happened since Watson first came to Cleveland via a blockbuster trade.

Aug. 18, 2022: Watson suspended 11 games, fined $5 million in settlement with NFL and NFLPA

Following the NFL's appeal of former Judge Sue L. Robinson's ruling of a six-game suspension for Watson, the Browns learned of Watson's heightened punishment on Thursday. Watson will be eligible to play his first regular season game for the Browns on Dec. 4, against his former team, the Houston Texans.  

3News provided ongoing coverage and broke down all the details of his suspension, which can be found below:


Aug. 12, 2022: Watson makes debut for Browns in preseason game, apologizes in pre-game interview

Prior to Watson's debut in the Browns' preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Watson apologized publicly for the first time. 

Aug. 9, 2022: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calls Watson's behavior 'egregious' and 'predatory'

Goodell made the comments regarding Watson following the NFL's decision to appeal. 

Aug. 5, 2022: 3News Investigates looks at previous lawsuits when star players sued the NFL

Learn how the NFL has handled previous lawsuits with NFL stars regarding suspensions. 

Aug. 4, 2022: NFL appoints Peter C. Harvey as designee

Rodger Goodell announced that lawyer Peter C. Harvey would serve as the designee in the NFL's appeal of the suspension of Watson.

Aug. 3, 2022: NFL appeals Cleveland Browns QB Watson's six-game suspension

After an initial six-game suspension was handed down by former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Watson, the NFL decided to appeal.

Aug. 1, 2022: Former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson issues a six-game suspension for Watson

After many awaited an announcement from former Judge Robinson, she ruled that Watson would be suspended for six games during the 2022 season due to violating the league's personal conduct policy. In her ruling, she said that all massages he receives must come from his team's massage therapists.

Aug. 1, 2022: Watson settles three more civil lawsuits 

Just hours before Watson's suspension was announced, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee confirmed to ESPN's John Barr that Watson had settled three more civil cases, leaving Watson with only one outstanding lawsuit.

July 27, 2022: Cleveland Browns and Watson begin training camp 

When the Cleveland Browns began training camp for the 2022 season, Watson was unsure of what his future looked like for the upcoming season. As Watson awaited a decision from former Judge Robinson, Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski had plans to prepare for a potential suspension. 

July 15, 2022: Houston Texans reach settlement with 30 women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct 

Attorney Buzbee announced Watson's former team, the Houston Texans settled with 30 women who accused Watson of sexual misconduct. The Texans noted that their settlements did not serve as an admission of guilt for providing Watson with a non-disclosure agreement for his massage sessions, as well as a room at The Houstonian hotel and club, where some massage sessions allegedly took place. 

July 7, 2022: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice comments on Watson case in interview with 3News' Russ Mitchell 

In a one-on-one interview with Mitchell, Rice stated that "We need to keep an open mind" on the accusations against Watson." It was collectively bargained as the process that would be used," said Rice. "It's a serious matter. I'm going to keep an open mind and see where this comes out. I hope it will be resolved soon. I have a lot of confidence in the arbitrator (Robinson)." 

June 30, 2022: Watson's disciplinary hearing ends after three days 

A three-day hearing took place before retired Judge Sue L. Robinson investigating the accusations against Watson. The NFL reportedly presented 'no evidence that Watson engaged in violence, made threats, applied coercion, or used force.'

June 29, 2022: Day two of disciplinary hearings for Watson

On the second day of Watson's hearing, the Cleveland Browns quarterback and his legal team presented their arguments before a disciplinary officer.

June 28, 2022: Watson's disciplinary hearings begin 

Watson's first day of disciplinary hearings began in front of Robinson.

June 27, 2022: Woman accusing Watson of sexual misconduct sues his former NFL team 

The attorney representing Watson's accusers, Buzbee, announced that one of the four women who had not settled with Watson filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans.

June 21, 2022: Watson settles 20 out of 24 sexual misconduct lawsuits 

Buzbee, the plaintiffs' lawyer, announced that Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits that alleged sexual misconduct against him. The terms of the settlement were confidential. 

June 14, 2022: Watson addresses sexual misconduct allegations at Cleveland Browns minicamp 

While speaking to media members during minicamp, the Cleveland Browns QB addressed the sexual misconduct lawsuits against him.

June 7, 2022: New York Times article reports Watson met with 66 different women for massage appointments 

In a New York Times article, new details were released regarding misconduct allegations against Watson.

June 6, 2022: 24th woman files sexual misconduct against Watson

Attorney Buzbee confirmed that a 24th woman had filed a lawsuit against Watson for sexual misconduct. The woman was the second to file a lawsuit against him within a week. 

June 3, 2022: Watson's attorney issues statement following viral 'happy ending' remark 

After saying 'happy endings' during massage sessions were not illegal during a radio interview, attorney Rusty Hardin later walked back his comments

May 31, 2022: 23rd woman accuses Watson of sexual misconduct 

The woman claimed Watson harassed or assaulted her on multiple occasions at a Houston massage parlor while he was still with the Texans.

May 24, 2022: Two women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct appear on HBO's 'Real Sports'

Accusers Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes recounted the alleged abuse they suffered from Watson.

May 18, 2022: Watson admits that a massage therapist cried at the end of a session

In testimony obtained by USA Today, Cleveland Browns quarterback Watson admitted that a massage therapist cried at the end of a session in 2020.

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson admits massage therapist cried at end of session in leaked testimony

April 8, 2022: Watson's attorney announces no trials for civil cases will be held during the 2022 NFL season 

Watson's attorney and the attorney representing the plaintiffs have agreed not to schedule trials on the civil cases from Aug. 1, 2022, through March 1, 2023.

March 25, 2022: Cleveland Browns introduce Watson as team's new QB

At his introductory press conference, Cleveland Browns quarterback Watson maintained his innocence against sexual misconduct allegations.

March 24, 2022: Second Texas grand jury declines to indict Watson on sexual misconduct charge 

The news of the new grand jury investigation came less than a week after Watson joined the Cleveland Browns.

March 20, 2022: Cleveland Browns release statements on allegations against Watson 

Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Andrew Berry and Stefanski all spoke about Watson's ability as well as concerns about sexual misconduct allegations against him.

March 18, 2022: Cleveland Browns acquire Deshaun Watson 

Watson joins the Browns via a blockbuster trade, with a $230 million contract.


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