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Legal battle looms if NFL tries to discipline Deshaun Watson for similar conduct

Mike Florio and Peter King discuss the latest allegation against Deshaun Watson, as the Browns QB faces his 26th lawsuit while serving an 11-game suspension.

On Friday, the NFL did not close the door on the possibility of further discipline of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, following the filing of a new lawsuit on Thursday. If, however, the NFL tries to impose further punishment on Watson for anything occurring before the date on which the league and Watson agreed to resolve the matter with an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine, a legal battle becomes likely, if not definite.

As a source familiar with the thinking of Watson’s legal team explained it to PFT, Watson cannot be disciplined for any conduct that occurred before the settlement agreement was reached between Watson and the NFL. New discipline would be possible only if the conduct in question happened after the settlement, or if it involves behavior different from the misconduct for which he has been disciplined.

The new lawsuit makes the same allegations Watson already has faced, and the incident allegedly happened in December 2020.

The league has no specifically said that it would try to discipline Watson for similar conduct that occurred before the execution of the August 2022 agreement. However, nothing would prevent further discipline of Watson for different conduct, or for anything happening after he and the league agreed to resolve the prior proceedings with the suspension and fine.