Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. At one point last year, 18 of the cases were ready to be settled; currently, none are.
Lawyer Rusty Hardin told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that “no settlement talks are in the offing.”
If the cases don’t settle, they’ll eventually have to go to trial. It’s now likely that the trials won’t begin until 2023. And it will be difficult if not impossible to conduct 22 trials during the 2023 offseason, especially if Watson intends to participate fully in the offseason program.
So what will the NFL do? Wait for the cases to end? Impose discipline now and be done with it? Discipline Watson now, while keeping the door open to discipline him later, based on how the cases unfold?
Regardless of what the league does, the cases will linger. It’s a burden that Texans fans previously had to carry. Browns fans get to deal with it now, even though Watson has more than enough money to end these cases today, if he wanted to.