CLEVELAND ( Associated Press) — Deshaun Watson’s near future with the Browns may be starting to unravel.
The Cleveland quarterback will have a hearing with NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson next week, three people with knowledge of the scheduled meeting told the Associated Press on Saturday.
Watson, who faces potential suspension by the league following sexual abuse allegations by a dozen Texas massage therapists, will meet with Robinson on Tuesday, the person said on condition of anonymity because audience details are not public.
It is not yet known when Watson will meet Robinson.
The hearing in Watson’s case is a significant development as Robinson will decide whether the 26-year-old violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The league is expected to recommend a significant sentence for Watson, which will be defended by the NFL Players Association in this attention-grabbing case.
ESPN was the first to report that Watson will meet Robinson, who was named in 2020 by the league and the Players Association. It is the first case former federal judges are handling under the league’s revised disciplinary procedures. First Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the situations.
This week, Watson reached an undisclosed settlement with 20 of 24 of the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit. The women say he harassed, assaulted and groped them during the session when he was playing in Houston.
The four cases that are pending are likely to be heard, something that will not happen until 2023.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and said that his sexual relations with the women were consensual.
The league said the investigation would not be affected by Watson’s deals. If Robinson learns that Watson has violated the league’s conduct policy, he will likely be suspended for at least several games.
Robinson’s decision is expected to be announced ahead of the Browns Open camp next month.
Cleveland signed Watson to a five-year, $230 million deal in March after convincing the three-time pro bowler to waive his no-trade clause. He thus joins the team returning from a disappointing 8–9 season. Other teams also supported him.