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Deshaun Watson Exposes Sports Media’s Identity Politics Hypocrisy

At this point, there are only two real options at play when it comes to the allegations that Deshaun Watson sexually assaulted at least 16 masseuses: either Deshaun Watson is a sexual predator or a large collection of women are lying about sexual assault in an effort to extort him for money. There’s virtually no middle ground here. This isn’t a he said-she said where both sides can believe their version of the truth, which we’ve seen happen quite a lot when it comes to pro athletes like Ben Roethlisberger or Antonio Brown. Either 16 women are lying for money about sexual assault or Deshaun Watson is a sexual predator.

Those are the stakes at play, these are the options you can choose between.

As a result, this is a massive story, one of the biggest stories involving a pro athlete and the justice system in the 21st century. In fact, you can easily argue given the number of women alleging sexual assault and the status of the accused, a star quarterback in the NFL, that this is THE single biggest story involving a pro athlete and the justice system so far in the 21st century. (The other two nominees in football are Aaron Hernandez, of course, but Hernandez was nowhere near as famous as Watson is. His crime was more egregious, but his stature was far less. The other nominee would be Michael Vick’s imprisonment for dog fighting, which featured a star quarterback, but didn’t have as serious of charges being alleged. The final nominee would be Kobe Bryant’s rape charge. So at the absolute minimum, this is the second or third biggest story involving a pro athlete and the justice system this century.)

Yet the coverage of this story has been minuscule in relation to the scope of the issues at play here. It has been particularly minuscule compared to the onslaught of coverage we saw surrounding Kobe, Hernandez and Vick. In fact, as I write this today, ESPN doesn’t even have the 16 women accusing Watson of sexual assault as one of its top sports stories. There are top stories involving Dan Snyder buying the rest of the Washington Football Team, the Bucs and Patriots signing players to extensions, Jay Graham resigning as an assistant coach for Alabama, MLB taking steps to limit doctoring baseballs, but not one story about a star quarterback in the NFL facing sexual assault allegations from 16 different women?

What’s going on here? How is that one of the biggest stories of this century so far involving a superstar athlete accused of being a sexual predator isn’t even worthy of receiving a daily headline on ESPN? And it’s not just ESPN either. You probably haven’t heard the Watson case discussed in detail on any of your favorite sports TV shows, podcasts, or radio shows. Why is that? How is there such a conspiracy of comparative silence here? What’s really going on?

Especially when you consider the coverage that rained down a few years ago when Peyton Manning’s twenty year old mooning — a case that many in sports media called sexual assault — was treated like Watergate by ESPN and when Drew Brees’s recent comments on why he stood for the national anthem — to honor his two grandfathers who fought in World War II — was treated like hate speech. Generally speaking, when an NFL quarterback does anything or anyone says anything to him — witness the breathless coverage of Cam Newton being taunted by a teenager at a youth football camp — it’s top news for several days in the sports cycle.

Heck, you can go even further back to when the Duke Lacrosse case exploded, based on just one woman alleging sexual assault. That story was everywhere, impossible to miss, a dull roar that eclipsed every other story in sports. Yet Deshaun Watson stands credibly accused of sexual assault by 16 different women — potentially heading to two dozen women! — and there’s barely a whisper of coverage.

How does this happen, not just in sports, where it should be a top story, but also in the American news media in general, where stories like these frequently lead national newscasts?

I’ll tell you. The American sports media — and the American media in general — is so captured by identity politics at this point that objective and honest journalistic coverage is nearly impossible to find. The sports media is paralyzed by their own wokeness. Without an easy villain to fit into the identity politics narrative — who is the villain here, the 16 women or the black quarterback? — the sports media’s victimization pyramid collapses on itself.

The American sports media has gone so overboard in the direction of the left wing identity politics universe that most in sports media are afraid to utter a word here. Because the minute you say anything, you risk alienating one of the pillars of the woke sports media establishment. If you don’t #believeallwomen, then you are turning your back on vulnerable women to help protect an extremely powerful man. But if you believe the women, then you are criticizing the black quarterback, who has come to represent the apex of the victimization pyramid ascendant in modern sports culture today.

Dare to analyze a case like this and a sports media member risks his or her own cancellation by the angry and aggrieved identity.

While the woke sports media might claim to revile capitalists, they’ve made an interesting choice: rather than risk their gravy train of wokedom coming to a screeching halt, they’ve gone silent. Most have choosen to ignore the entire Watson story.

Witness the always opinionated Jemele Hill, patron saint of sports media wokeness, who hasn’t uttered a single word of opinion about 16 minority women suing Deshaun Watson for sexual assault. Isn’t this exactly what #metoo supposedly existed for? So that mostly powerless women could stand up to the powerful starting quarterback with the hundred million dollar contract? When Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh stood accused of teenage sexual assault — despite no evidence that Kavanaugh had ever met his accuser in his life — Hill and her woke supporters in sports media took to their Twitter accounts to proclaim their support for the woman, even though there were no facts to support her other than her sex. (And Kavanaugh’s own politics).

Deshaun Watson is far more credibly accused of sexual assault — BY 16 DIFFERENT WOMEN — than Brett Kavanaugh ever was by a single woman. Indeed, President Joe Biden was far more credibly accused than Kavanaugh too, but that’s another story entirely — and yet Jemele and her coterie of perpetually offended cancel culture stalwarts say nothing at all about Watson. The hypocrisy, of course, is deafening.

Would Hill and her woke compatriots be so silent if, for instance, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen stood accused of sexually assaulting 16 mostly minority masseuses? Or would they have immediately screamed to the high heavens about how this was reflective of Allen’s white privilege and demanded immediate punishment and retribution for his alleged actions?

I think you know the answer.

And it’s not just Hill, of course. It’s the entire cottage industry of identity politics obsessives who have stormed the sports media gates and left almost everyone in our industry afraid to open their mouths or send a tweet for fear of the woke mob descending upon them for their thought police crimes.

The problems with identity politics — and its kissing cousin cancel culture — are legion, but they become most pronounced when two protected identities collide like this, rendering the woke narrative null and void. What happens, in essence, when there is no easy villain? The woke narrative collapses upon itself.

And powerful figures like Deshaun Watson end up being the beneficiaries.

Let’s consider the scenarios at play here.

Unlike my woke brethren in sports media, I’m consistent in my logic and analysis no matter the race, gender, ethnicity or the sexuality of the accused. I defended Zeke Elliott to the high heavens when he faced an accusation of domestic violence and was suspended for six games. I’ve spent over a decade ridiculing the NFL’s personal conduct policy as the worst decision made by any NFL commissioner ever. And, significantly, when everyone else was running around supporting the #believallwomen hashtag during the Kavanaugh judiciary hearings, I pointed out that believing all women, or all men for that matter, was the antithesis of everything the American justice system stands for.

Lady Justice is blind for a significant reason, not because she’s ignoring the facts before her in court, but because we endeavor in this country to judge everyone: white, black, Asian, and Hispanic, gay and straight, rich and poor, whatever identity you embrace or believe you are defined by, as equal under the law.

What the woke among us don’t realize is that they are the modern-day Jim Crow villains they claim to hate. They are arguing for different treatment for individuals based upon their identities. They aren’t on the “right side of history.” They are the modern-day version of the Jim Crow era South that led to the murders without punishment of the Emmitt Tills of the world. They are subverting justice based on identity politics, just like racist white people in the South did sixty and seventy years ago. They are dragging us back into the racist past, not leading us into a less racist future.

And the result is Deshaun Watson, one of the most powerful athletes in the United States, is the beneficiary of this modern racism fueled by identity politics. Because these women saying he assaulted them certainly aren’t benefitting from their identities at all. People in sports media aren’t rushing to defend them and commend their bravery. Watson ranks higher on the privilege scale and on the power scale than these women. But as soon as these minority women come forward to tell their story, we learn that #believeallwomen has an important caveat that we need to add as a parenthetical: #believeallwomen (unless the man has the same political beliefs as us and we stand to lose money if we attack him.)

Then things get complicated for the woke sports media.

Is it possible these 16 women are all lying? Sure. Anything is possible. But I have never seen it before and chances are no lawyer, judge or police officer right now reading this has seen it either. Conspiracies are hard to organize. Conspiracies involving sixteen different masseuses in at least three different states — most of whom have never met before — are even harder to organize. Especially when, and this is significant, Watson allegedly reached out to the women himself on Instagram.

He chose these women, he made them all players in this massive justice system drama.

I’ve never had a massage in my life, so I can’t speak to it on an expert level. But how many of you have had massages where you flew strangers in to conduct them? And if you found a masseuse you liked, wouldn’t you keep him or her around? Especially if you were a pro athlete who ostensibly needed these massages to help keep you fit and ready to play? After all, pro athletes keep the same athletic trainers for years, decades even, because they are so particular about who trains their bodies. Yet Watson was going through dozens of masseuses every year and couldn’t find a single one he liked during that time?

It just doesn’t make logical sense.

Think about this for a minute. Deshaun Watson went on Instagram, according to the complaints, and selected women he’d never met and offered to pay them to give him massages. He even offered to fly some women into Houston to massage him. And he did it for dozens of women. How many massages from how many different women does one man need? This doesn’t sound like a search for peak athletic performance, this sounds like Jeffrey Epstein.

What’s more, these weren’t therapeutic massages related to his career as an athlete. Watson had access to these kind of massage therapists with the Houston Texans. No, this wasn’t that. Watson was hunting for women he was attracted to online, for strangers, and then he was paying them to join him in private rooms where he then allegedly pressured them into sexual activity after arriving nearly fully nude for the massages they were there to provide.

That’s the very definition, if you read the complaints, of predatory sexual behavior.

And he likely did this so there would be no witnesses to his actions, so it was just his word against the masseuse’s word. This wasn’t New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft getting caught on tape getting a happy ending at a public Florida spa. Watson guaranteed that everything he did happened behind closed doors with zero witnesses.

Why did he do this? Well, there’s an easy theory. Who were people going to believe if things went awry, if the women didn’t do this bidding? The wealthy, star quarterback with a reputation of gold or the powerless mostly minority masseuses without very much money and with no public profile? As soon as they raised an issue at all, what would the first response be? You’ve already seen it all over social media and you’ve already heard it from Watson’s own attorney and agent: they were just shaking down Watson for money.

But if that’s true, and again, we’ll have to wait and see for sure whether it’s true or not, why has no other athlete in American history ever had this many women accuse him of sexual assault via lawsuits before? If it’s that easy to extort famous athletes, why haven’t others been extorted like this before?

These are all important and interesting questions that a free and unrestrained sports media should be asking. But chances are OutKick will be the only place you see asking them. Why is that? Because the Deshaun Watson case is exposing anew the echo chamber that the sports media has become. Not everyone agrees with the ascendant victimization culture, but everyone knows that if you stand up to it, the woke mob will put you squarely in their sights.

The media, in my opinion, should exist to expose hypocrisies and expose the logical fallacies of the powerful. That’s what should be happening here.

When you make everything about identity politics, sooner or later the protected identities collide. And when there’s no easy villain to blame, all the usual suspects go silent because it blows up their preconceived narratives. There should be many in sports media pointing out these issues. Instead, it’s just OutKick.

Because ultimately there are only two options here: either Deshaun Watson is a sexual predator or these 16 women are all liars.

These are the stakes, and these are as high of stakes as I can remember seeing in sports this century.

Yet the American sports media — and the media in general — are mostly silent about this case. Why is that? Because whether Watson or the women are lying, one thing is 100% clear: the mainstream media isn’t prepared for either answer to be true, because it doesn’t fit their narrative. Powerless women or the black quarterback can’t be the villain. That’s not how these stories work.

So when the narrative doesn’t fit, you get silence.

Which is ironic because silence is exactly what Deshaun Watson was after when he booked these private massages and ensured that all these women he’d never met would be alone with him in private rooms when he got naked.

Deshaun’s no idiot. He knows that the media can’t call him a villain because of his reputation and his identity. But there’s eventually a downside to this kind of power: you think you can get away with anything.

Don’t believe me?

Ask Bill Cosby.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

34 Comments

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  1. I don’t know if you read the comments Clay, but here is something to consider. Because of the #metoo movement, certain women might be more emboldened to take down rich men. It’s possible they all banded together independent from the Houston Texans. The Texans may also be acting irrationally out of anger because Watson wanted a trade (would harm them if he stays or gets traded), so it’s possible they’re behind these accusations. They have been shown to be petty (trading Hopkins for only a second rounder, seems like they cared more about getting him out). My younger brother’s boss at work here in Houston said that Buzbee ran a campaign for some political position and is considered a joke by most in the Houston area. Ultimately, I have no idea what happened though.

    • A curious and responsible media would be champing at the bit to investigate those very questions. That the media is largely ignoring the story strongly suggests that woke ideology trumps even the foundational principles behind the journalism profession.

    • People may hate Buzbee for his politics, but credible legal press and attorneys (including myself) know Buzbee to be one of the best trial attorneys in the country and have regularly won 6 and 7-figure cases fair and square in courts and in settlements. Remember that Watson has to defend all 16 to 24 cases individually with its unique facts and alleged victims, and likely in multiple courts; good luck for Watson to find the so-called coordination or conspiracy theory, and for all the judges and jury to buy that. To even suggest that these women along with Buzbee and the Texans are coordinating and conspiring to defraud Watson is amateurish (and something Watson’s attorney will surely NOT use as a claim for his client’s defense); it is super-easy to expose conspiracy to defraud (cell phone records, etc.) and why would the Texans’ brass and Buzbee themselves risk going to jail just to screw Deshawn over? By the contract, he needs to play for the Texans and that has been the top experts (Michael Lombardi)’s prediction; so why would Texans damage its own investment? Think facts, not emotions my friend!

  2. I, for one, am thrilled this is getting no play. I am so tired of social media lynch mobbing and GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT nonsense that has taken over the past 20 years of the internet. If Watson is a serial sexual assaulter, I want him to be charged of a crime, or crimes, and I want a jury of his peers to convict him, or for him to admit guilt. As a Chiefs fan, I saw this all play out with Tyreek Hill who spent 10 years of his life getting absolutely railroaded by a crazy ex who kept lying about him every time he broke up with her and he almost had his life ruined two separate times.

    On top of that, if you are an Instagram masseuse and an NFL QB is flying you across state lines to give him an expensive massage … lol. Riiiight. I am sure there were NO implications.

    I’m so tired of the NFL using the exempt list to contribute to these social media lynch mobs. Let Deshaun have his day in court and once he is found guilty, or admits guilt via any sort of plea, reign down your criticism and hand down your suspensions / jail / prison sentences.

    Until then, in America, you are INNOCENT until proven GUILTY. I am a Chiefs fan, by the way, so I give two shits about Deshaun Watson.

    • i think women lie as often as it gets them something and sometimes just to destroy others out of vengence.

      Watson’s mistake was crying like a baby via social media. so … social media can take him down. and it will. he chose the childish route guilty or not, he is an instagram model himself. its all sad.

    • Bad take. What Clay (and myself) are merely suggesting is that it will be super hard for Watson to justify that he is innocent in all 16-24 allegations. Extremely difficult given the available evidence. This no lynch mob, but legal analysis of the actual complaints being filed. You don’t have to treat social media allegations seriously but once civil (and potentially criminal) complaints are filed, this is the real game and the real world here and your argument falls apart. Look at the complaint from 16 lawsuits, and you, like Clay suggested in his radio show, that Watson better settles before this gets uglier for him.

      • Nah. It’s a fine take. I am a conservative guy who would have voted for Trump (I don’t vote), and hate the pussification of America … but this website is as bad as the others. Outkick just complains about how woke everyone else is, which is the same god damn thing. Outkick gets their clicks from ‘the Woke tourney’ and Clay pointing out hypocrisy and essentially crying about it. I think the whole thing is dumb. Burack is every bit as big of a pussy as Jemele Hill, he just cries about their crying. It’s all really fucking stupid.

        I don’t watch football and care about my personal morals or convictions, either. I don’t give a shit off Deshaun Watson is a creepy dude trying to get massage therapists to bang him by showing them his erection. I just don’t give a fuck. Nor should you. I don’t watch the NFL and think, “gee, those are some real role models out there!” I’m not that naive, nor am I outraged when I hear about rich dudes trying to pay for sex.

        WHO GIVES A FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

        • Lot to unpack here lol… But I have to start with you claiming to be a Chiefs fan not giving a shit about the Texans and their issues and then claiming you don’t even watch football. Which is it?

          I’m with you on innocent until proven guilty (which should always apply) but clearly a precedent has been set with extreme scrutiny for many, with much less corroboration. Like some of the others have commented, the media hasn’t suddenly “found a conscience”. They control the flow of information and pick and choose when to go apeshit.

          I also agree with you that these women knew what they were signing up for. If a man you don’t/barely know offers to fly you into across the country he is probably expecting more than a date or a massage in this case.

          I also give zero shit’s Watson wants to pay for a rub & tug or sex. That’s his prerogative as an adult. But… clearly a bonehead move DM’ing random women for “messages” when he can easily get laid for free or pay a tiny fraction of his net worth for high class pussy.

          And given that the Texas has essentially have nothing to gain from this – a likely lengthy suspension and/or trade value completely lost the evidence points this being totally on him and the media needs to call balls & strikes.

    • The problem is as Clay pointed out, when its Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford or Drew Brees then what from the media. The article mentions this point that the sports media rushes to judgment all to often in these matters but not here. To me, the reasoning behind that hypocrisy is the overall message.

  3. Clay absolutely on point with you take, this is what happens when ideology becomes your religion.

    We don’t know any of the facts and no one should rush to judgement without facts, therefore I think limiting to only two conclusions is rushing to judgement as well.

    Yes Watson could be a sexual predator the likes of Epstien.

    Yes these victims could be flat out liers and extortionists.

    For example another option not considered that is in-between the two conclusions, Watson could have a strange sexual fetish that he pays for privately. And these massures learned of their roles in this fetish that included multiple massures and coordinated to extort the high profile athlete.

    Are there really that many massures being flow in for their back rub skills? I am not a massage expert so maybe there are highly skilled massures flying around the country because they provide the best neck massage on the planet and anyone who flies and pays them handsomely are clearly only expecting back rubs.

    Your two conclusions could be right in the end but again without all the facts thinking those are the only two conclusions is again making a jump a still little prematurely.

    But right on again on the media ideologies.

  4. Yes Watson is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law….but that has never stopped the media before from being its own judge, jury, and executioner with big name cases. Ideology politics has to be the reason why they aren’t touching this with a 10 ft. pole.

    We really saw the media think it was the arbiter of justice starting with the OJ trial.

    • I like Clay, that’s why I pay to be on his website.

      But you retards are just as retarded as the other retards from the left. “Omg the media doesn’t know how to report something about a black QB omg.”

      Who fucking cares? Thank God they aren’t turning this into a 24/7 circus. I am stoked about that. It is awesome. Hopefully they’ll learn from what they did to Tyreek Hill, Kobe, Kavanaugh, etc…

      Innocent until proven guilty. Let’s go back to that. Social media lynch mobs should be the next thing to be cancelled. Can’t wait for that.

  5. At the beginning of the article, you referenced the supposed perpetrator as Watson. At the end, near where you make a comparison to Cosby, you referenced him as Deshaun.

    Why the change of editorial veiw? Referencing with his Christian name suggests alliance.

  6. Simple, leftists are liars, hypocrites and total frauds. They lack any real moral or ethical compass. They are beneath contempt. Hill and her ilk must be locked in their homes curled up in the fetal position over this.

  7. Don’t bury the lede next time:

    The American sports media — and the American media in general — is so captured by identity politics at this point that objective and honest journalistic coverage is nearly impossible to find.

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