(Warning: This column contains graphic details of alleged sexual misconduct.)
Say this for Deshaun Watson: When you choose partners, choose well.
(To be clear, we’re referring to partners you enter into consensual business relationships with; Watson seems to have some issues with consent. Supposedly.)
On Thursday, immediately after the NFL announcement of Watson’s final punishment — if we want to call it a punishment — by having two dozen women accuse him of sexual assault and/or misconduct through civil lawsuits, we have a much clearer idea of why the quarterback remains unrepentant, almost defiant.
The people he has surrounded himself with are just as unrepentant, almost defiant.
Watson’s team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, Watson’s agent David Mulugheta and Watson’s team general manager Andrew Berry couldn’t sit quietly and take what really was a win for Watson and let him run.
Regardless of the fact that they are unprecedented in terms of disciplining NFL players, an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine seems inadequate. Watson was accused by a horrific number of women and exhibited a pattern of behavior that referee Sue L. Robinson called “predatory”. The NFL told reporters that it was seeking a full year’s suspension for Watson.
So 11 games and a monetary fine shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a win for Watson, the Cleveland Browns and Mulugheta.
Most knowledgeable PR professionals would advise everyone to take the W and keep it moving.
Apparently none of those professionals work with Watson, Haslam, Mulugheta or Berry.
The completely opposite reactions Watson expressed aside: In a written statement, Watson said, “I apologize once again… I take responsibility for the decisions I’ve made,” but as soon as he got in front of the microphones, pleaded not guilty to any responsibility. bad deeds: it is the words of his facilitators that underscore why Watson continues to behave the way he has throughout this whole disgusting affair.
Jimmy Haslam gave the entire game away when he said, “People deserve second chances. Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be a part of society? Don’t you have a chance to rehab? And that’s what we’re going to do. And you can say, ‘well, that’s because he’s a star quarterback.’ Well, of course.
Everything Haslam said before and after that is useless. The truest thing he said, perhaps the only true thing he said, was: He doesn’t care what Watson was accused of, because he’s a star quarterback and he can help his team win.
When asked by a reporter if, knowing what they now know about Watson through information that has come out of the trials and through media reports, the Browns would still make the same historic deal of three first-round picks and a $230 million fully guaranteed contract for Watson, Berry didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“We were thorough; we made an informed decision,” Berry said.
Please note, in March Berry did not dare to say that he believed that Watson had committed no crime.
Dee Haslam went for the impressive double of defending Watson while infantilizing him when she said of his continued denials, “He’s 26 and just getting counseling, it’s going to take some time.”
It will be a novelty for the many women who swore under oath that Watson exposed himself them, rubbed his penis on them and/or ejaculated on them that at 23 or 24 years old he just didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.
Haslam also smeared the victimized women when he mentioned “sex trafficking” and “massage parlors” when none of those things have anything to do with Watson. The women involved were not trafficked. They weren’t in “massage parlors,” which we assume is an old-fashioned shorthand for places where the treatment includes some kind of sexual encounter.
Let’s say it one more time for Dee Haslam, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.And anyone else who hasn’t yet grasped this concept: The more than two dozen women who made accusations against Deshaun Watson were not sex workers. They are generally licensed massage therapists who own their own small businesses. They did not consent to a sexual encounter with Watson.
Mulugheta tweeted and then deleted a blemish on Robinson, writing: “To be clear, Judge Robinson repeated the NFL narrative. He received a report from the NFL weeks before we had a chance to speak with her. In our first call with the judge, she referred to ‘Deshaun’s pattern of behavior’. It was decided before we put up a counterattack.”
To be clear, David, two dozen women who don’t know each other filing lawsuits containing incredibly similar stories of abuse at the hands of the same person is a pattern of behavior.
Mulugheta’s second attempt was no better. This time he wrote, in the same 280-character tweet, that Deshaun is innocent and repentant.
On March 25, the day the Browns introduced Watson, we wrote that Watson showed no remorse because the Browns’ trade for him and the record deal meant he never had to.
On Thursday, all parties involved only reinforced that theory.
Some people enter marriages of convenience.
Deshaun Watson marries shamelessly.