Five Things About Deshaun Watson’s Situation That Simply Do Not Make Sense

Some things about Monday’s Deshaun Watson decision raise eyebrows. No, we’re not talking the length of the suspension, which is six games and everyone has an opinion about because, well, that’s the low-hanging fruit.

We’re beyond that now.

We’re talking other stuff that, at best, do not compute and at worst, are just wrong.

DESHAUN WATSON SUSPENDED SIX GAMES. WHAT COMES NEXT FOR QUARTERBACK, NFL, CLEVELAND BROWNS

Here are five things surrounding this matter that beg more scrutiny:

1. Start with the subject of Deshaun Watson’s contrition.

The Cleveland Browns released a statement from owners Dee and Jimmy Haslem that read in part, “We know Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has cause such heartache to many and we will work to show who he is …”

This is vomit-inducing stuff on multiple levels because what it really suggests is Watson is remorseful about the absolute wrong thing.

He’s not remorseful he sexually assaulted at least four Houston area massage therapists — and, yes, Discipline Officer Sue L. Robinson ruled she believed the quarterback violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy because he “engaged in sexual assault (as defined by the NFL) against the four therapists identified in the report.”

DECISION DOCUMENT ON DESHAUN WATSON SAYS NFL PROVED ALL ALLEGATIONS INCLUDING QB ENGAGED IN ‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’

But Robinson also got no remorse from Watson and, in fact, called his “lack of expressed remorse” one of the aggravating factors that led her to the six-game suspension.

When Watson last spoke to reporters on June 14 he said, “I never assaulted anyone, I never harassed anyone, I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”

The next time Watson expresses remorse publicly will be the first time.

2. Robinson basically bought every facet of the NFL’s case.

Robinson believed the league’s contention that Watson engaged in sexual assault, engaged in conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person, and engaged in conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.

NFL’S DECISION REGARDING DESHAUN WATSON

And despite finding for the NFL on every count, Robinson drew back in the so-called sentencing stage.

She decided that because there is not past precedence to make Watson’s suspension longer, she could not suspend Watson for a higher amount of games.

So, on the one hand, Robinson agreed with everything the NFL alleged but, on the other hand, could not agree with the league that requested a minimum one year suspension.

3. Robinson tied herself up in all sorts of knots about what she called “non-violent sexual conduct” and sanctions for engaging in that.

Robinson writes that “while it may be entirely appropriate to more severely discipline players for non-violent sexual conduct, I do not believe it is appropriate to do so without notice of the extraordinary change this position portends for the NFL and its players.”

DISCIPLINE OFFICER CALLS DESHAUN WATSON BEHAVIOR WITH 24 ALLEGED VICTIMS ‘NONVIOLENT’

She goes on to say that, “it is inherently unfair to identify conduct as prohibited only after the conduct has been committed.”

In other words, Robinson gave Watson a break because the NFL did prior to his actions outline in the NFL Personal Conduct Policy what nonviolent sexual assault was, that it was wrong, and what penalties offending parties might incur.

Is this real life?

So Watson could not be suspended longer because the NFL didn’t expressly outline in a policy for him that placing his penis on a woman’s hand without her consent is wrong?

And, what’s more, Robinson earlier in the report seemingly contradicts herself by saying that Watson “knew or should have known that any contact between his penis and these therapists was unwanted.”

4. Prohibited conduct under the Personal Conduct Policy includes but is not limited to “actual or threatening physical behavior” or “stalking, harassment or similar forms of intimidation.”

But Robinson decided Watson’s offense was “non-violent.” and later added “it is undisputed that Watson’s conduct does not fall into the category of violent conduct that would require the minimum six-game suspension.”

CLEVELAND BROWNS RELEASE STATEMENT ON DESHAUN WATSON’S SUSPENSION

This makes little sense because it completely overlooks the idea of intimidation or the implied threat of physical harm being at play when a highly conditioned professional athlete who is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds and has money and power and is locked with a working woman in a confined space alone makes demands or gives orders.

Where is the regard for intimidation and harassment when the athlete takes a woman’s hand, without her consent, and puts his penis on it? And where is the idea of that there’s harassment when she pulls away and he tries to convince her to do it, anyway?

5. The appeal is the next big question here. The NFL has until Thursday to appeal or not.

And it’s a sticky situation for the league as former league executive Mike Tannenbaum explains:

https://twitter.com/RealTannenbaum/status/1554101408840011778

It goes beyond that. If the NFL appeals and the commissioner’s new designated officer which will either himself (unlikely) or someone else, adds to Watson’s suspension, the NFLPA on behalf of Watson or perhaps Watson’s own legal team, will sue the NFL.

DESHAUN WATSON’S MASSAGE THERAPIST TROLLING DAYS HAVE COME TO AND END

And because an injunction is likely, it may mean the NFL on appeal goes from seeing Watson suspended the first six games of the regular season to seeing him play in the regular-season opener and going forward until a federal court rules on the matter.

That could happen maybe later this year, or next, or years from now, depending on the court’s schedule.

Can the NFL stomach that scenario?

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply