Browns 'respect' decision to suspend Deshaun Watson for six games

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The Cleveland Browns "respect" the decision of a former US district judge to impose a six-game suspension on quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Former Houston Texan Watson faced 24 civil lawsuits following sexual assault and misconduct allegations. He was not charged by two grand juries and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The NFL was seeking a suspension for a breach of the league's personal conduct policy, and retired judge Sue L Robinson ruled Watson should be sidelined for six games with no additional fine.

The league issued a statement earlier on Monday saying it would review the findings before deciding whether to appeal, while the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) previously said on Sunday it would "stand by" the ruling once it arrived.

The Browns also issued a statement on Monday, saying: "Throughout this process, Deshaun and his representatives have abided by the newly created and agreed upon process for the NFLPA and the NFL to defer to the objective Judge Sue L Robinson to comprehensively review all information and make a fair decision.

"We respect Judge Robinson's decision, and at the same time, empathise and understand that there have been many individuals triggered throughout this process.

"We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field, and we will continue to support him."

The NFL and the NFLPA have three days to appeal against the decision.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski also spoke to the media on Monday and echoed the sentiments of the organisation's statement, saying: "I'm going to respect Judge Robinson and her opinion right now until more information becomes available to me... It remains a process that we're certainly respectful of.

"[Watson] is working to be the best version of himself... He's said that publicly, he's said that privately, and I believe that."

Stefanski added: "I feel incredible empathy for anyone that's been impacted by the decision. It's something I don't take lightly."

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