I’m really not trying to talk about Deshaun Watson all the time. But he’s a divisional quarterback who has just gone through multiple criminal complaint depositions, has 22 civil complaints outstanding, and just held his introductory press conference yesterday, so if you’ll indulge me, we do have a bit more to discuss with the Cleveland Browns’ new franchise quarterback.
And, frankly, there is a lot from yesterday’s proceedings—about what was said, and what was not said—that I don’t intend to cover. We all have a general understanding of the background behind what’s going on and how he wound up in Cleveland at this point, anyway. So let’s move on.
One of the biggest outstanding non-football conversations remaining surrounding Watson concerns the obvious, which is the 22 outstanding civil lawsuits that have been filed against him. Most feel that he should just settle them and begin to move on.
He told reporters that that will not be his team’s course of action. “That is not my intent. My intent is to continue to clear my name as much as much as possible, and that is what I am focused on”, he said, when he was asked if he was going to try to settle the suits against him.
10 of the 22 women who have filed civil complaints against him also filed criminal complaints. All 10 criminal complaints were ultimately turned down for any charges, and at the moment, it is not believed that there are any remaining outstanding criminal complaints, nor expectations that others will be filed.
As one would imagine, Watson, for his part, insists that he is guilty of none of the things that he is accused of doing, which range from making explicit sexual requests and exposing his penis to massage therapists and brushing it up against their hands to ejaculating on them and coercing them to perform oral sex on him.
“I can’t speak on what people’s opinions are because everyone has their own opinions. What I can continue to do is tell the truth, and that is I have never assaulted, disrespected or harassed any woman in my life”, he said. “Like I said before, I was raised differently. That is not my DNA. That is not my culture. That is not me as a person, and that is not how I was raised”.
He also said that he understands that he has a lot of work to do to build and earn trust, and that he hopes one day to “show people who I really am and get my story out eventually”. Shockingly, Watson told reporters, when specifically asked about it, that he is re-evaluating his procedure for scheduling massages, or more specifically, for evaluating how he finds and selects massage therapists, which I imagine will be harder from now on. This may have been a question that was better to leave unanswered.
Professional athletes will, of course, get massages, but it might have been better to say something to the effect of “I’ll defer entirely to the team’s discretion”, or something like that, given the context. His answer was, “It is something that with my team and now with the Cleveland Browns the organization, we find a plan and move forward from there.” Previously, he had found some of his massage therapists through dubious means, such as by messaging them on social media.