Battista and Pelissero: Reasons behind NFL's settlement of the Deshaun Watson case

Deshaun Watson was fined $5 million, suspended for 11 games, and ordered to undergo counselling and treatment for breaking the NFL's personal-conduct code on Thursday. However, there were a few encouraging words at the bottom of the NFL's statement: "Today's announcement finishes the process."

The 11 games don't seem like enough, especially in light of the 24 women who filed lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual misconduct, the fact that Judge Sue L. Robinson determined the NFL had established beyond a reasonable doubt that he sexually assaulted the four women whose cases were brought before her,

 And Commissioner Roger Goodell referred to Watson's alleged actions as "predatory" just last week. In light of the completely guaranteed contract, the fine is ridiculously minimal.

Watson's Thursday assertions that he is innocent and has never sexually assaulted or even degraded anyone—that he was apologising because so many people were "triggered"—indicate that this settlement is, for him, not accompanied by regret or even self-awareness, but merely a desire to move on with his life. Hopefully, the counselling is sufficient.

It is not enough for Watson to move on with his life in light of the alleged nature of his behaviour and Robinson's conclusion. He needs to change that, to understand that the Browns were seemingly so concerned about his ability to get a message without incident that general manager Andrew Berry said Thursday the team would put together a plan as soon as the trade was completed for how Watson would get massages.