Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for six games Monday after being accused by two dozen women in Texas of sexual misconduct during massage treatments, in what a disciplinary officer said was behavior ”more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.”
The punishment handed out by the game’s disciplinary officer, former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, fell well short of what the NFL had asked for: an open-ended suspension of at least a year for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Watson, who played for four seasons with the Houston Texans before being traded to Cleveland in March, recently settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by women alleging sexual harassment and assault during the treatments in 2020 and 2021.
The NFL has three days to appeal the decision.
As a condition of his reinstatement, Robinson mandated that Watson only use massage therapists approved by the team for the rest of his career. And she said Watson must have ”no adverse involvement with law enforcement and must not commit any additional violations” of the personal conduct policy.
The NFL Players Association has said it would abide by Robinson’s ruling. If the NFL appeals, Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates will make the ruling on an appropriate punishment, per terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The union then could try to challenge that ruling in federal court.
IRVINE, Calif. (AP)Los Angeles Rams receiver Van Jefferson needs knee surgery and could miss the defending Super Bowl champions’ regular-season opener.
Rams coach Sean McVay said Jefferson will have the ”minor” knee surgery Tuesday. Jefferson will need at least a few weeks to recover, putting in doubt his status for the Rams’ opener against Buffalo on Sept. 8 at SoFi Stadium.
McVay also said Matthew Stafford is ”still feeling a little bit of pain” in his right arm, so the Rams are limiting the quarterback’s involvement in team drills.
Jefferson is heading into his third NFL season after starting all 17 games and all four playoff games last year for the Rams. He had 50 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns last season before adding nine catches in the playoffs, including four catches for 23 yards in the Super Bowl – immediately followed by his famous rush to the hospital for the birth of his son.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Seahawks issued a statement about an hour before their fifth training camp practice started, saying that Carroll – who is fully vaccinated – tested positive on Sunday and is experiencing mild symptoms and is remaining at home. Carroll intends on participating in team meetings virtually until he is cleared to rejoin the team.
Carroll is the oldest coach in the league and will turn 71 in mid-September. He was a major proponent of COVID-19 vaccinations and took pride in the Seahawks making it through the 2020 season without a player testing positive during the season.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has tested positive for COVID-19.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection tested positive on Sunday. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Monday that Murray was experiencing ”minor” symptoms. The coach added that Murray will miss a minimum of five days unless he tests negative before that time.
Kingsbury said no other players had tested positive during camp.
The positive test continues an eventful few weeks for Murray, who signed a $230.5 million, five-year deal in July.
NEW YORK (AP) – The trade market got busy ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, with the New York Yankees acquiring pitcher Frankie Montas from Oakland for four prospects.
As contenders bulked up ahead of stretch runs and possible postseason appearances, San Diego got All-Star closer Josh Hader from first-place Milwaukee, and Houston obtained designated hitter/first baseman Trey Mancini from Baltimore as part of a three-team trade that included Tampa Bay. The AL West leaders also added catcher Christian Vazquez from Boston, which in turn acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from Cincinnati.
St. Louis obtained left-hander Jose Quintana and right-hander Chris Stratton from Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee added right-hander Matt Bush from Texas.
World Series champion Atlanta acquired outfielder Robbie Grossman from Detroit and brought back infielder Ehire Adrianza from Washington. The Yankees got reliever Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago White Sox obtained left-hander Jake Diekman from Boston.
Montas became the second front-line starting pitcher to switch teams ahead of the deadline, after Seattle got Luis Castillo from Cincinnati. In exchange for the 29-year-old right-hander and struggling reliever Lou Trivino, the Yankees sent payroll-paring Oakland 26-year-old rookie left-hander J.P. Sears along with three minor leaguers.
ATLANTA (AP) – All-Star third baseman Austin Riley and the Atlanta Braves agreed to a $212 million, 10-year contract that starts in 2023, the most lucrative deal in team history and a surprise given he had three additional seasons under club control.
The deal with the 25-year-old is Major League Baseball’s 25th for $200 million or more. It includes a $20 million club option for 2033 with no buyout, which could make the agreement worth $232 million over 11 seasons.
Riley hit .423 with 11 homers, 25 RBIs and 21 runs in July. His 26 extra-base hits in July were the most by a Braves player in any month, passing Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s previous record set in July 1961. The big month left Riley leading the majors with 61 extra-base hits.
NEW YORK (AP) – Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 43rd home run, Jose Trevino had his first multihomer game and the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 7-2 in a series opener between teams bulking up for the postseason.
Anthony Rizzo started the onslaught with a three-run homer in the first, and New York clinched its 31st consecutive winning record at home (41-13), second only to its big league standard of 47 in row from 1918-64. The Yankees are 70-34, the first team to reach 70 wins this year.
Before the game, the Yankees acquired starter Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino from Oakland, three days after Seattle obtained Luis Castillo, perhaps the best available starter on the trade market. Castillo is lined up to start the series finale on Wednesday against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.
NEW YORK (AP) – Tiger Woods turned down an offer that Greg Norman says was ”somewhere in that neighborhood” of $700 million to $800 million to take part in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.
During an appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night, Norman confirmed what he told the Washington Post in a story two months ago. Norman told the Post in June the offer was ”mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”
Woods has been opposed to LIV Golf since late last year, and he delivered his strongest comments at the British Open when he said players who took the money funded by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund had ”turned their back” on the PGA Tour that made them famous.
When an offer was made to Woods was not clear.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Venus Williams lost to Canadian Rebecca Marino on Monday in her return to singles play after more than a year away, a defeat the seven-time Grand Slam champion chalked up to being rusty
Williams lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington in her first singles match since last August. Before the hard-court tune-up for the U.S. Open, Williams last played singles in Chicago on Aug. 23, 2021, when she lost to Su-Wei Hseih. Williams played mixed doubles with Jamie Murray at Wimbledon.
Williams practiced with sister and former doubles partner Serena leading up to the tournament which is not routine for them.
In other action on the women’s side, top-seeded Jessica Pegula and former top-ranked Simona Halep advanced. On the men’s side, former No. 1 Andy Murray lost his opening match 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-1 to Swede Mikael Ymer. Murray started cramping at the end of the first set and struggled to recover.