The Cheap Seats: Deshaun Watson faces suspension

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was issued a six-game penalty for twenty-four allegations of sexual misconduct. Two days later, the NFL appealed for a one-year suspension.

by Lanie Everett
| 8/12/22 2:00am


On Aug. 1, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson obtained a six-game suspension after being accused of 24 allegations of sexual misconduct by private therapeutic massage therapists from 2019-2021, when he was nonetheless a member of the Houston Texans. Following a 15-month investigation into the allegations, federal decide Sue Robinson determined to droop Watson for six video games. The ruling was made on behalf of the NFL’s coverage {that a} third-party counsel ought to determine the plan of action for gamers who’ve violated the league’s code of conduct. 

The Cleveland Browns homeowners, Dee and Jimmy Haslan, stated they “continue to support’” Watson. Similarly, the NFL participant’s union inspired the NFL to not attraction Robinson’s penalty. For context, Brown was a first-round draft choose to the Cleveland Browns in 2022 with a $230 million assured contract. 

However, a six-game suspension appears dramatically low for a participant on the heart of a whopping 24 instances of sexual misconduct –– 23 of which have been settled by Watson. The league had initially really helpful suspending Watson for at least one 12 months. To many, together with Goodell, Watson’s penalty is just not punitive sufficient. In Robinson’s 16-page report, she wrote that Watson is “a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person”and that his conduct “undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL,” based on ESPN. 

Although Watson claimed he was harmless from all allegations of sexual misconduct, and two Texas courts denied Watson felony trial, Robinson concluded from interviews with 4 of Watson’s therapists that Watson did, in truth, sexually assault them.  

Why did Watson obtain such a light-weight penalty for his actions? For one, there is no such thing as a established precedent for a scenario comparable to Watson’s. Because Robinson characterised Watson’s actions as “non-violent,” his conduct referred to as for the standard six-game suspension penalty, regardless that she acknowledged that Watson’s actions fell beneath the NFL’s definition of sexual misconduct. 

To stay in line with the NFL’s prior rulings, Robinson didn’t authorize an extended sentence. 

For instance, Ray Rice, a star operating again for the Baltimore Ravens, was suspended for a mere two video games — a slap on the wrist — for punching his fiancée in 2014. It was not till TMZ launched a graphic video of Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious on the bottom that Goodell appealed his suspension to an indefinite standing. This case set a precedent that Robinson could have needed to think about when making the choice about Watson’s penalty. 

Two days after Robinson’s choice, the NFL as soon as once more appealed. The league will depend on former New Jersey legal professional basic Peter Harvey to determine on Watson’s destiny for a second time. In a press release on Aug. 9, Goodell publicly endorsed the attraction, saying that Watson’s remedy of girls and embarrassment for the league ought to have permitted  “at least a one-year suspension,” together with the common and put up 2022 season. 

To Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, the irony of Goodell’s attraction after serving to to ascertain a poor judicial precedent ought to be a lesson realized for the NFL. Because of inconsistent remedy of gamers who have interaction in home abuse, sexual misconduct and different actions that violate the league’s code of conduct, many survivors haven’t gotten justice. Even although Watson’s actions towards his therapists had been deemed as “nonviolent,” Robinson nonetheless acknowledged that Watson engaged in “predatory conduct.”.  

Watson’s six-game suspension is solely unfair. He will proceed to journey with the Browns, preserve his $230 million, face no felony fees and no required counseling or fines. He has accepted confinement to solely “club-approved massage therapists, in club-directed sessions, for the duration of his career.” Meanwhile, these individuals who got here ahead towards him haven’t obtained justice. 

On July 30, a day earlier than Robinson’s preliminary penalty was made public, a Cleveland Browns Instagram put up confirmed Watson enjoying rock paper scissors with younger boys, maybe a few of his youngest followers. Thousands of little boys throughout the United States look as much as star athletes, like Watson, as position fashions and heroes. With an inconsistent penalty for severe offenses comparable to sexual assault, is that this actually how we would like the following era to see what athletic energy and fame can enable one to do?

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