The NFL doesn’t have a floor. There isn’t a low that this league and some of the people who cover it won’t stoop to. It’s the only way to explain the attention surrounding Deshaun Watson and where he will end up playing next season.
After not taking the field for the entirety of the 2021 season due to multiple allegations of sexual assualt, the “current” Houston Texans quarterback jumped to the top of the NFL’s most wanted list last week when a grand jury decided not to indict him after considering evidence of sexual misconduct allegations related to nine of the ten criminal complaints that were filed against him.
“It’s definitely a very emotional moment for me. I know we’re far from being done of handling what we need to handle on the legal side, but today is definitely a big day,” said Watson, after not speaking to reporters for over a year. “I thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for letting the truth be heard. And I thank everyone that was a part of this for seeing and hearing both sides. That’s what my team wanted was to have a fair slate of us telling our side of the story and letting the conclusion come down to what happened today and that’s what the grand jury decided.
“I’m just going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my appearance in the community. And on the legal side handle what we need to handle. But also ready to get on the field, and prep for that.”
As soon as the decision came down, teams in need of a franchise quarterback started making calls, and media members that carry the league’s water went to work. It was as if Watson was deemed innocent, as they conveniently ignored the 22 civil suits that he’s still facing. According to reports, he was questioned in two of those cases earlier this week. Nobody seems to care about that. The attention is focused on what team he’ll be playing for next season, and it’s gross. Despite what it looks like, there is a way to report the latest news on Watson while also giving context and updates on the legal matters that benched him for a season.
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Walking and chewing gum at the same time is a struggle for some.
“This is why Deshaun Watson, from the beginning, welcomed a police investigation: He felt he knew that the truth would come out. And today, a grand jury did not charge him on any of the criminal complaints,” tweeted ESPN’s Adam Schefter when the news broke last week as if he was on Watson’s payroll and part of his public relations team.
The tweet instantly caused a stir and led to a follow-up “explanation.” But, the damage was already done.
“This was a poorly worded tweet that deserves a proper response. It was intended to provide insight into the strategy of Watson’s legal team from its POV. I should have been clearer. As legal experts have explained, a lack of an indictment alone does not mean someone is innocent.”
Things got worse on Wednesday when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen gave an update explaining why the Cleveland Browns may be getting ready to replace Baker Mayfield with Watson.
“They (Cleveland) want what they consider ‘an adult’ at that position.”
A franchise that only won four games between the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons have Watson on the list to be their potential new franchise quarterback because they consider a man with 22 open civil cases to be “an adult.” Funny enough, a day later they were reportedly out of the running to land Watson — sometimes these things just write themselves.