Read the Judge’s Decision Suspending Deshaun Watson

Read the Judge’s Decision Suspending Deshaun Watson

the Report. On behalf of the NFL, one of its investigators defined the term at the evidentiary

hearing as the “unwanted sexual contact with another person.”15 The NFL contends that Mr.

Watson committed sexual assault by allegedly “touching [his] penis to the women without their

consent.”16 As it is the NFL’s prerogative to impose the Policy on its players, I am bound to

accept the NFL’s definition of sexual assault. Therefore, it is the NFL’s burden to prove that it is

more likely true than not that: (1) Mr. Watson intended to cause contact with his penis; (2) he

did so for a sexual purpose; and (3) he knew that such contact was unwanted.

many undisputed facts. For instance, there is no dispute that Mr. Watson used Instagram to

contact these therapists, and that he was clearly identified to them as a player for the NFL

through Instagram.17 There is also no dispute that he reached out for private massage sessions

with women whose professional qualifications were unknown to him, nor were their professional

qualifications explored by him.18 Mr. Watson always forecast his desire that certain areas of his

body be massaged, including his lower back, glutes, abs, and groin area.19 In all four cases, the

therapists were willing to go forward with the massage; however, none of the therapists were

willing to offer him massage services again.20 Finally, there is no dispute that Mr. Watson

15 Tr. at 483:20-484:19. 16 Id. 17 Report, Exs. J, O, S, GG. 18 Report, Ex. F at 161:9-12; Ex.H at 246:9-21. 19 Report, Ex. F at 170:8-172:5; Ex. T. 20 It should be noted in this regard that multiple therapists conducted multiple massage sessions with Mr. Watson or agreed to work with him again. See Watson brief at 4 n.26. Although one of the four therapists here massaged Mr. Watson twice, the NFL only relies on the second session as a basis for discipline. See Watson Ex. 83 at 218:20- 219:7.

As noted above, the conduct of “sexual assault” is not defined in the CBA, the Policy, or

The record presented by the NFL to support its allegations of sexual assault includes

(1) Conduct that Qualifies as a Sexual Assault

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