On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns officially announced that they had traded with the Houston Texans to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson. The team also issued a sprawling statement to explain why they felt so comfortable giving up tons of draft picks to align themselves with someone who is facing 22 civil lawsuits regarding sexual assault and harassment.

“We are acutely aware and empathetic to the highly personal sentiments expressed about this decision,” Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in the statement. “Our team’s comprehensive evaluation process was of utmost importance due to the sensitive nature of his situation and the complex factors involved. We also understand there are still some legal proceedings that are ongoing and we will respect due process.

“It was pivotal that we, along with Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski, meet with Deshaun to have a straightforward dialogue, discuss our priorities, and hear directly from him on how he wants to approach his career on and off the field. He was humble, sincere, and candid. In our conversations, Deshaun detailed his commitment to leading our team; he understands and embraces the hard work needed to build his name both in the community and on the field. … We are confident in Deshaun and excited about moving forward with him as our quarterback and supporting his genuine and determined efforts.”

“We have done extensive investigative, legal, and reference work over the past several months to provide us with the appropriate information needed to make an informed decision about pursuing him and moving forward with him as our quarterback,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement. “Deshaun has been among the very best at the position and he understands the work needed to re-establish himself on and off the field in Cleveland. We are confident that he will make positive contributions to our team and community as we support his return to football.”

However, not only did the Browns not reveal any details about their “extensive” investigation into Watson but they also did not speak to any of the 22 women who filed civil lawsuits against him, per their attorney. That aspect threw a lot of doubt on the “extensive” nature of their work and caused a lot of people around the NFL world to react accordingly, especially when they took into account the way the Browns structured Watson’s contract.

It’s going to be a particularly unfortunate situation for many Browns fans next season as they’ll find themselves needing to decide how badly they want to root for a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, especially if Cleveland is able to win more games because of him.


About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.