The latest controversy in the National Football League involves quarterback Deshaun Watson who was accused of various sexual allegations by 22 women. The Cleveland Browns are facing a backlash after signing Watson who missed the entirety of the 2021-2022 football season due to allegations of sexual misconduct from numerous women.
According to NFL. com, after a grand jury decided not to indict Watson in the criminal investigation against him, he was free to negotiate with teams who sought his services after he requested a trade from the Houston Texans before last season.
On March 11, a grand jury in Harris County (Texas) determined there was not enough evidence to charge the quarterback after several allegations from multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct arising from massage therapy sessions. Although he is cleared of the criminal charges, he is facing 22 civil lawsuits from several of his accusers. The NFL is still investigating the matter and most likely will suspend him based on information acquired.
It was reported by multiple outlets last week that several teams met with Watson and surprisingly, the Browns emerged as the team he chose to resume his career with. On Sunday, an official announcement came from the team. In order for them to obtain the controversial player, the NFL team gave up three first-round picks, a 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick for Watson as well as a 2024 fifth-rounder.
Cleveland Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski, in a written statement, said, “Our organization did a tremendous amount of background on Deshaun. We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organization. It was important for us to meet with Deshaun in person as part of our team’s evaluation process, we had a candid conversation regarding his approach to coming into our organization and community.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to coach Deshaun, he is ready to put in the hard work needed to help our team improve and make a positive impact in our community.”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 20, 2022
The backlash against the Browns started immediately after the news was leaked last week that he was joining the team.
Texas decided Deshaun Watson won’t stand trial for sexual assault but 22 civil suits can go on.
TX traded him to the Cleveland Browns and he gets $230M to be the quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee to point out inequality and he hasn’t played football since.
— Feisty is proud to be a Democrat! (@FeistyLibLady) March 20, 2022
I’m puzzled at the Browns saying they did an “extensive evaluation,” like they unleashed some secret CSI investigation. They didn’t. He’s good at football. The end. They could care less about what he’s accused of. https://t.co/AGP3SgOici
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 20, 2022
After not playing last season and still facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault, it says a lot about the NFL’s attitude toward QBs that the Browns are giving Deshaun Watson a brand new contract before the extension he signed in September 2020 has even started.
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) March 18, 2022
TonyBuzbee, the attorney for the 22 women, who are suing Deshaun Watson, just told me no NFL teams have reached out to him or his clients in the course of their efforts to research Watson.
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) March 20, 2022
Yep. And it also says a lot about the NFL’s attitude towards women. https://t.co/aifdujWYKv
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 18, 2022
A record contract. A pile of draft picks. 22 active civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault.
This feels like a time to step away from the ole’ tweeter for a bit.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) March 18, 2022
Calvin Ridley bet on his team to win with an NFL partner sportsbook.
1 year suspension
Deshaun Watson is actively facing 22 civil suits of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
Fully guaranteed 5 year $230M contract.
— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) March 18, 2022
A league that sees Colin Kaepernick as untouchable while drooling and then paying a quarter billion dollars to Deshaun Watson is a league that mocks even the idea of having a moral compass.
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 18, 2022
Mike Vick served nearly two years in prison, had his reputation shattered, and had to spend more years redeeming himself in the eyes of the NFL community. Deshaun Watson is welcomed with a big check and everything he wants. Because we value dogs more than women in this country.
— Broncos Reddit (@Broncos_Reddit) March 18, 2022
An easy way to remember the details of Deshaun Watson’s new contract is that he gets a $10mm signing bonus and then an additional $10mm for every woman who has accused him of sexual assault, for a total of $230 million.
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) March 18, 2022