Browns activate serial sexual assault perpetrator Deshaun Watson after ban
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland officially added Deshaun Watson to its 53-man roster Monday, clearing the way for his Browns debut Sunday against his former team, the Houston Texans. The Browns waived quarterback Joshua Dobbs in a corresponding move. Watson served an 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy by committing sexual assault, as defined by the NFL, on massage therapists.
He was also fined $5 million and has had to undergo a mandatory treatment program. Watson's return Sunday will mark exactly 700 days since he last played in a regular-season game (with the Texans on Jan. 3, 2021).
Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Over the summer, he agreed to settle 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him. A 25th lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff when the judge ruled that her petition had to be amended with her name. Two other women filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him. On Oct. 13, another woman filed a lawsuit against Watson, claiming he pressured her into oral sex during a massage session in 2020.
Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year. Watson has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said people haven't been interested in hearing his side of the story. He still hasn't spoken publicly since his suspension was announced in August, though he is expected to later this week.
Read more: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35131811/browns-activate-deshaun-watson-ban-waive-joshua-dobbs
And I sure as hell would NOT have minded in the least if the guy had been banned from the NFL, or even prosecuted in some of these instances.
But ... what's being described as sexual assault is along the lines of grazing a massage therapists leg with his hand and saying 'I'll give you $250 if you would finish me off' type of thing.
Distasteful, yes. And the sheer volume of women involved he tried to exploit in this way clearly indicates a certain pathology, one which is unlikely to ever be tamed in this individual through force of will.
I'm only saying this because when you read a story worded like this, it makes your head explode as to how could he POSSIBLY be let back into the league?
It's because no particular incident was anything all that egregious in nature. Watson was not attacking people, he was soliciting prostitution.
And also ... almost certainly a lack of physical/forensic evidence.
I guarantee you that everyone who works in these professions has had at least one client who tried to violate those boundaries in a sexual manner. They would be rebuffed and the client would not be seen again.
Imagine if a big beefy dude were giving you a massage for back pain and he suddenly started massaging your balls. Then you find out that a dozen other men who have gone to that massage therapist have had that happen.
In this case its 23 women, and Watson is a big beefy dude who could easily overpower them. Its the fact that he does this over and over again to unsuspecting women which makes it egregious. Like it or not, being an NFL quarterback makes you a public figure.
He destroyed his own reputation and a short ban is not going to get it back. He should have been banned from the sport.
And I'd be REALLY surprised if he 'keeps his nose clean' because as I say the sheer volume of women suggests a pathology, and modern psychology isn't really any much better with this problem than it is with, say, curing a drug or gambling addict. Which is to say, they don't REALLY know how to fix it.
I'm fairly sure the NFL will end up with major egg on it's face regarding this decision, and I hope they learn from it.
As a point of fact, however, I don't think any of the women claimed he grabbed their genitalia, it was more a stroke of the thigh and a 'Hey Baby?' kinda deal. What you describe would be a clear sexual assault by the masseuse. I think if there was claims that were that extreme, he wouldn't have been let back in.
At least I damn sure hope not
But look at the history of Trump. There are a couple dozen accusations, and some do include rape.
He famously said :Im automatically attracted to beautiful I just start kissing them. Its like a magnet. Just kiss. I dont even wait, Trump said. When youre a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab em by the pussy. You can do anything.
This was known before the election in 2016. Yet millions of men and women still voted for him. Millions still would vote for him.
If people think this is acceptable, and apparently they do - we've got a huge cultural problem.
Trump should be in prison for rape, not in high elected office.
The claims against Watson, at least from what I've read, have been considerably less egregious than, say, what Jeanne Carroll has asserted happened to her, and what many other women have asserted Trump did to them.
It's likely a very similar pathology though. In the end it may come down, in a sense, to what a black athlete like Watson (one who was beholden to the NFL, a buncha rich men basically) believed he could get away with vs. a white man like Trump had good reason to believe ... he could.
Which they failed to do. You can indict a ham sandwich but not an NFL QB (even one that no longer plays for your city).
I think there is still one unsettled lawsuit. I think irrespective of NDAs the testimony of all the women might come in because of that. In that regard this might not be over yet.
That falls squarely on the shoulder of owner Jimmy Haslam.
Browns stink from the top down.