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Deshaun Watson’s return to the Browns on a dark day for the NFL

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Go ahead and cheer Deshaun Watson on if you’re so inclined when he makes his all-but-triumphant return on Sunday — in Houston of all places — as the Browns’ quarterback, armed with the biggest fully guaranteed money contract in the game. NFL.

But feel free to go ahead and boo Deshaun Watson if you think he’s lying about his misbehavior with the small army of massage therapists he turned to when he was a franchise quarterback for the Texans. .

Go ahead and cheer if you feel like he’s done time for all his alleged sexual misconduct indiscretions and gets the second chance that virtually every struggling superstar in every sport eventually gets.

But feel free to go ahead and boo Deshaun Watson if your moral compass and conscience are more important to you than football or winning.

Go ahead and cheer if you’re a forever desperate Browns fan for your first Super Bowl appearance and pay more attention to the fact that you finally landed your franchise quarterback than anything else.

But feel free to go ahead and boo, whoever your favorite team is, about a win-at-all-costs franchise rewarding Deshaun Watson with an outrageous $230 million contract that’s fully guaranteed.

Go ahead and cheer if you agree that Deshaun Watson has shown no contrition and maintains his innocence and has not been criminally indicted by two Texas grand juries.

But feel free to go ahead and boo if you can’t forgive him for the trauma and emotional scars he left on his little army massage accusers.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of Deshaun Watson’s life.

Browns
Deshaun Watson
PA

It’s not hard to predict how this will play out: If Watson steps in and turns the Browns into Super Bowl contenders in 2023, much of his unsavory past will be all but forgotten by many, if not most, in Cleveland. and it won’t be cast by them like The Unforgiven.

But today is not a day to celebrate a feel-good story.

Yes, Watson deserves this chance to try to rehabilitate his image, through acts of repentance more than words. But any rust he needs to stamp out in his first regular-season action since Jan. 3, 2021, when he was still the Texans’ franchise quarterback, and since his 2021 timeout mandated by Houston and his 11-game suspension in 2022 should serve as a reminder of the predatory behavior that caused Roger Goodell’s NFL to send him into exile.

There will be a self-proclaimed ‘You think you’re putting us behind you, but we’re still here’ reminder for Watson also in the NRG stadium suites: 10 of his sexual harassment and assault accusers and their attorney, Tony Buzbee, will be watching it. Good for them. Twenty-five women represented by Buzbee filed lawsuits. One dropped hers. Twenty-three others have settled theirs. One, Lauren Baxley, who will not be present, refused to settle down and should be judged.

Who will pity Deshaun Watson if he joins Pete Rose in Charlie Hustle’s prison without bars?

Probably too much.

He made the bed.

Many Browns fans — even women — will be conflicted. Many will hold their noses and root for him to throw touchdown passes.

Others, men and women, will protest against his return.

“I think most people are going to be outraged, and I think people should be outraged,” Christian Nunes, president of the National Women’s Organization, told Serbian Says.

Browns
Deshaun Watson
PA

Goodell requested a one-year suspension for Watson before signing 11 games after disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson ruled a six-game suspension.

In the eyes of NOW, Greed caught a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson.

“I think there is a consensus that we are disappointed that the NFL continues to protect individuals and harbor individuals who have been violent towards women and who have been violent towards women. women,” Nunes said.

Here’s what she would say to Browns fans: “I would ask them to think about if it was your daughter, your sister, your granddaughter, your mother, how would you feel and still have the same reaction?”

Nunes applauded the Bills for releasing rookie punter Matt Araiza in training camp following a gang rape allegation and most recently the Cardinals for firing assistant coach Sean Kugler after he allegedly groped a woman. But Watson’s contract sends the worst possible message from the Browns and the league.

“They choose their financial gain over protecting women. And that’s shameful,” Nunes said.

Watson’s lack of remorse did him a disservice.

“There has to be accountability, and there’s no accountability if there’s no consequence and you don’t even have time to have accountability to change your behavior, and you don’t don’t acknowledge your role in what happened,” Nunes said.

Watson
Ashley Solis, left, the first woman among several plaintiffs to file lawsuits accusing Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault or harassment, speaks as her attorney Tony Buzbee in August.
PA

Deshaun Watson’s return is not the day for the NFL to trumpet its continued efforts to educate and recruit women to grow the golden goose, or add women to the disciplinary process and coaching staff, or the rise power of Sandra Douglass Morgan of the Raiders as the first black women’s club president in NFL history.

“We are not talking about the sport itself. We’re talking about people who promote toxic masculinity behavior as a problem,” Nunes said.

She called on Goodell to move forward with organizational culture change.

“If he’s not going to step in and make some changes that will impact his league,” Nunes said, “then he should really consider being a commissioner.”

It’s mind-boggling that Watson booked massage appointments with at least 66 different women from fall 2019 through spring 2021.

Go ahead and encourage victims at the NRG stage like NOW will do.

“There’s support for you, we’re on your side to speak up and hold on to your truth,” Nunes said, “and we’re on your side to feel like you’re seen and heard.”

NFL Black-eye Day: Deshaun Watson chooses not to see or hear them.

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