The NFL and the players association reached an agreement on Thursday regarding Deshaun Watson’s punishment. The two parties agreed on an 11-game suspension for Watson and an additional $5 million in fines that will “be used to prevent sexual misconduct and harassment” in the future. The Browns QB will also have to “undergo mandatory evaluation by behavioral experts and follow their suggested treatment program” according to ESPN. Watson, who was accused by over 24 masseuses of inappropriate and forceful behavior, will make his first regular-season start in 2 years on December 4th against his former Texans.
Watson hasn’t helped his publicity case either. On March 25th he was quoted saying he has “no regrets” about what transpired. On August 12th, days before the final ruling, Watson said “I’m truly sorry to all the women I’ve impacted in this situation… and for my decisions, I’ve made… I definitely would like to have (the decisions) back.” But then this morning, August 18th, he stated “I’m continuing to stand on my innocence, just because settlement happens doesn’t mean a person is guilty for anything”.
Put me on a milk carton because I am lost. This ruling is the NFL acknowledging that Watson committed terrible acts, but said acts were not malicious enough to be expelled from the league, much less suspended for an entire year.
If you’re the NFL, and the evidence says Watson did it, then you expel him. If you don’t think he did it, there shouldn’t be any punishment at all. But if you’re going to agree on a short-term suspension, then all you’re saying is that “we acknowledge Watson instigated and committed terrible acts, but said acts are not worthy of banishment… or we love money too much”. It’s cowardly behavior on the side of the NFL, trying to appease all parties instead of taking a stand on what they think is just.
Think about Calvin Ridley. The Atlanta WR got suspended a whole year for gambling on a game, and he owned up to it, but based on the NFL’s suspension logic, they think gambling is worse than sexual misconduct. That’s not me putting words in the NFL’s mouth either, that’s what they are saying through the legal system and their suspensions. Make it make sense. I for one am just glad this shit is over. I just don’t give a popcorn fart about Watson or the Browns. I’m glad the issue is over, but the whole thing was poorly handled, quickly investigated, and inconsistently ruled.