Newly named Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was introduced on Friday during a press conference in Berea, Ohio.
Reporters met the polemic Watson — amid an investigation looking at 22 separate accounts of sexual harassment filed against Watson— with plenty of questions awaiting the QB over his ongoing legal issues and a seemingly new start in Cleveland.
“I know these allegations [are] very, very serious. But I’ve never assaulted any woman. I never disrespected any woman.” Watson told reporters, as relayed by ESPN.
“I never assaulted, I never disrespected and I never harassed any woman in my life,” Watson added,
“I wasn’t raised that way. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way over the course of my life. That’s not in my DNA. As far as the details of the things that they’re alleging, I can’t speak on that because there’s an ongoing investigation. But in the future, once everything’s resolved, I would sit down and love to talk about it.”
Browns manager Andrew Berry attended the press conference and supported his new quarterback against the questions over a still-uncertain future in the NFL.
“I’ll say the investigators that we hired were able to get a full perspective of all the cases,” Berry said. “I’m not going to go into necessarily the details of everything the investigators did, but they got a full perspective for all the criminal and civil cases.”
The most striking detail from Friday’s presser was the absence of Cleveland Browns ownership.
Both Jimmy and Dee Haslam decided to skip the in-person session and opt for a Zoom presser following Watson’s time on the mic.
The Haslams were highly receptive to Watson’s arrival in Cleveland and even commented on previous starter Baker Mayfield’s future with the team.
“We think highly of Baker and did not get down on him,” they responded. “I know there’s a statement that we needed an adult in the room and Baker felt that came from ownership. That’s not true. Nobody can question the four years he gave … we wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
“No one from the Browns organization reached out to me or my clients,” said attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women seeking litigation against Watson. “I didn’t expect them to. I would have certainly talked to them had they asked to talk to any of my clients and had the clients wanted to do so I would have allowed that to happen.
“Each of these women has been pretty confident, pretty consistent about what has happened to them.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela