NFL needs to prove it is serious about addressing violence against women

If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.

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The disciplinary process in the case of NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson is somewhat confusing. But process aside, it is crystal clear that a six-game suspension is not a strong enough penalty for a player who has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by two dozen women — with the NFL’s disciplinary officer finding that the league did prove by a preponderance of evidence that Watson committed sexual assault as defined by the league.

Twenty-four massage therapists in Texas have filed civil lawsuits against Watson alleging he sexually harassed or assaulted them during appointments in 2020 and 2021. Watson has denied allegations against him while also settling 23 of those suits. His former team, the Houston Texans, have settled with 30 women after being accused of ignoring and enabling Watson’s alleged behavior. Multiple grand juries in Texas have declined to prosecute Watson on criminal charges.

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