NFL says Deshaun Watson’s status remains unchanged despite new suit

Suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s status with the NFL has not been affected by a new civil lawsuit filed by another woman accusing him of sexual misconduct two years ago, the league said Friday.

Watson is serving an 11-game suspension for alleged sexual misconduct while he played for the Houston Texans. Two dozen women previously alleged he was sexually inappropriate during massage therapy sessions.

On Thursday, another woman filed a lawsuit in Texas that alleges Watson pressured her into performing a sex act after a massage in 2020. Watson has settled 23 of 24 previous lawsuits filed against him.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the latest lawsuit does not impact Watson’s standing. The three-time Pro Bowler returned to the Browns’ training facility this week for the first time since his suspension began on 30 August.

“We will monitor developments in the newly-filed litigation; and any conduct that warrants further investigation or possible additional sanctions would be addressed within the Personal Conduct Policy,” McCarthy said in an email.

Watson is only permitted to attend meetings with the Browns and work out as he moves toward a possible return. He is not allowed to practice until 14 November, and as long as he fulfills conditions of his settlement with the league, he can return fully on 28 November and would be eligible to play on 4 December when the Browns visit the Texans.

Watson agreed to the 11-game ban, a $5m fine and to undergo treatment and counseling by an independent group.

The Browns traded for Watson in March and signed him to a five-year, $240m contract.