Deshaun Watson's Comments Following Suspension Show He's Learned Nothing

Deshaun Watson (Credit: Mary Kay Cabot)

The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on a deal to suspend Deshaun Watson for 11 regular season games and fine him $5 million. The suspension comes after 25 women sued Watson, accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021. A total of 30 women accused the Houston Texans of “turning a blind eye” to allegations that Watson was sexually assaulting and harassing women during massage sessions. They settled their legal claims against Watson’s former team in mid-July.

The attorney representing the women, Tony Buzbee, announced that 23 out of the 25 lawsuits were settled. After disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson ruled that Watson would be suspended for the first six games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, but he would not be fined, initially, the NFL attempted to suspend Watson for one year for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. However, they’ve now reached the deal outlined above.

As my colleague Jerry Wilson reported, Watson spoke about the extended suspension and $5 million fine.

“I’ll continue to stand on my innocence, just because you know settlements, and things like that happen doesn’t mean that a person is guilty for anything … I feel like a person has an opportunity to stand on his innocence and prove that, and we proved that from a legal side, and just going to continue to push forward as an individual and as a person.”

He continued, saying that one day he wants to tell his side of the story:

“That’s definitely the plan, that’s definitely the goal … I feel like through the whole process I’ve been trying to tell my side of the story. But a lot of people just didn’t pay a lot of attention to it.”

Earlier this year, Watson signed a five-year, $230 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. That is $46 million per year. A $5 million fine for an average person is pennies for Watson. But ask yourself: If you were accused by all these women of sexual assault and harassment, what would the repercussions be? An average person would likely get a much harsher punishment than Watson.

As I highlighted in my previous article about the Browns quarterback, the NFL has given much harsher punishments for lesser infractions. Here are just some examples:

Not to mention Ray Rice. In 2014, he was found guilty after TMZ obtained video footage that showed Rice assaulting then-fiancée Janay Palmer. Rice was initially banned for life from the NFL. That ban was overturned in court, and criminal charges were eventually dropped against Rice after he agreed to undergo counseling. The difference is that Rice has not played in the NFL since then.

Yes, in Watson’s case, these are allegations; however, while he settled 23 of the lawsuits, two remain. If he is found liable, the NFL should not hesitate to ban him for life, just as they did with Rice. If they don’t, the NFL is sending a message that they don’t care what the players do off the field as long as they make their profit by selling tickets.

If and when Watson returns from suspension, expect more boos from the fans.

Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III said: “I’m sick for all the women out there.”

As reporters asked Watson questions, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said: “It’s important to remember Deshaun Watson is 26 years old, and he’s a hell of an NFL quarterback.”

So, as you can see, the suspension has not impacted Watson; it has not impacted the owner of the team. The NFL made a mistake with this decision, and coincidentally, he will return to action against his former team, the Houston Texans. Nothing suspicious at all about that … this sets a bad precedent for the league.

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