On Thursday, the NFL announced that it would be suspending Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for 11 games during the 2022 NFL season, fining him $5 million, and requiring mandatory attendance at a treatment program.
While Watson and the Browns released statements that seemed to imply apologies for what 24 different women alleged that the quarterback did to them during massage sessions while a member of the Houston Texans, they then held a strange press conference where it seemed as though they had a really hard time taking responsibility and admitting fault.
Owner Dee Haslam seems to be disagreeing with Watson regarding if he did anything wrong.
When asked about Watson maintaining his innocence, Dee said that over time he'll "grow to learn about himself."
She then corrected herself when saying he "admitted" doing something wrong. pic.twitter.com/02J0HLHL6T
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 18, 2022
It’s been a banner day for people stepping up to defend Watson while dancing around exactly what the “situation” was that got him suspended and will see him require treatment in order to return to the NFL. Adding to the list of enablers is Watson’s agent, David Mulugheta, who took to Twitter to say that his client is “innocent” and that has not changed.
Deshaun has always stated he is innocent of sexual assault. Nothing has changed in what he said. He also said he is remorseful, the decisions he made have created this situation. The settlement allows him to move forward with his life and career.
— David Mulugheta (@DavidMulugheta) August 18, 2022
“Deshaun as always stated he is innocent of sexual assault,” wrote Mulugheta. “Nothing has changed in what he said. He also said he is remorseful, the decisions he made have created this situation. The settlement allows him to move forward with his life and career.”
As many have pointed out, if Watson is innocent of any wrongdoing, why is he also remorseful? What, exactly, is he remorseful for having done, specifically?
i feel like i'm going insane reading all the variations of this vague apology-non-apology https://t.co/PTMnhBCDuB
— Kalyn Kahler (@kalynkahler) August 18, 2022
He maintains his innocence but knows his decisions created “this situation” in which the Disciplinary Officer, Judge Sue Robinson, ruled he engaged in sexual assault and conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of others. Mmhmm, got it. Congrats Cleveland! https://t.co/MMhDwwNzq4
— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) August 18, 2022
So Deshaun Watson made “decisions” for which he’s “remorseful” but also didn’t “disrespect” a single woman?
This is reprehensible obfuscation that doesn’t even make sense https://t.co/zfbjBW9c9o
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) August 18, 2022
He also said he never disrespected or harassed anyone. Now he’s remorseful. Curious that you replaced those 2 words with “the decisions”. https://t.co/1KtJ8IROaS
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) August 18, 2022
So he is remorseful for what exactly? https://t.co/qIMi8P8vdm
— ethan at the summer cottage, cheers! (@EthanGSN) August 18, 2022
He cannot be both innocent and remourseful. Remorse doesn't work that way. https://t.co/9QB0abe7nK
— Michael Sykes, II (@MikeDSykes) August 18, 2022
David, can you explain specifically which "decisions" Deshaun is "remorseful" about? https://t.co/OwU6Vo1k1C
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 18, 2022
this makes no sense. https://t.co/0NwDolcesh
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) August 18, 2022
Meanwhile, others pointed out that Mulugheta had originally posted a different tweet in which he chastised Judge Sue Robinson, who oversaw the initial decision to suspend him for six games, for following the “NFL’s narrative” about Watson.
— Dave Algonquin (@the_real_matt_m) August 18, 2022
Deshaun's agent has already deleted his first tweet where he blasted the NFL and Sue Robinson's "narrative" https://t.co/SWm9R4COhf
— Jake Asman (@JakeAsman) August 18, 2022
While the suspension matter might be over, it’s hard to believe that Deshaun Watson will be able to “push forward with my life and my career” and not constantly be reminded of this. His legal issues may be over but he’ll have to live with it forever. And as for all of the people who associate themselves with him, especially those who financially benefit from him, the dark stain will remain with them as well.