Deshaun Watson’s case is a test of what the NFL intends

Deshaun Watson’s case is a test of what the NFL intends

Twenty-two accusers. No, it’s just 23. Wait, it’s 24 now.

Should the NFL stop deshaun Watson, a player who received a $ 230 million contract from the Cleveland Browns, while being accused of aggression and assault by an ever-increasing list of female massage therapists?

Of course, the league could do it, and given the many claims, it would not be surprising if it did. But should it be?

Whether you’re browsing the Browns message boards, tweeting, or just talking to some women, many people claim that former Houston Texans player Watson should never throw the NFL transition again.

According to them, the penalty is not enough for a certain number of games this season. Neither season nor even two seasons are closed. If America’s most popular sports league is to keep its promise to stand up for women and victims of violence, Watson should be banned.

Well-known victim rights activist Brenda Tracy, who travels the country to consult with college and professional athletes to combat harassment and abuse, says Watson “should never play in the league.” “It’s ridiculous,” he said. I do not understand how long these leagues will take to protect these people. He must go. “

Of course, such a step would have been unprecedented. Watson is adamant, especially now that two of Texas’s grand juries have decided not to prosecute – although this is not uncommon in cases where women are accused of sexual harassment.

If banned, he would definitely put pressure on the league to recover. Maybe even in court. Let him try.

A signal would be sent: the NFL is no longer ready to put games, myths and money above everything else.

I write this with abdominal pain. I still digest the latest revelations about Watson from The New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas, whose report this week showed that the 26-year-old was engaging in more suspicious behavior than anyone thought.

Watson, as we now know, visited at least 66 female masseurs in the 17 months from fall 2019 to spring 2021. Among them were strangers he followed on Instagram and women working in a spa on the side of the highway. .

NFL players, who are well aware that their bodies are the blood of their lives, usually find several specialists to massage their limbs.

Having 66 masseurs is not a crime, but in fact it is a galaxy far from the norm.

Some of the 66 stood up for Watson and made it clear that he had done nothing wrong. But last week, two more women filed a civil lawsuit, bringing the current number of prosecutors to 24. Some of the women who massaged Watson did not call a lawyer or police after that, but even told The Times that Watson was wanted. more than getting rid of the pain. Numerous figures are dizzying, and descriptions of Watson’s aggression and rights are cold.

The woman who filed the latest lawsuit claimed that Watson masturbated during the massage, which ended in a way that satisfied her and humiliated her.

A woman who decided not to go to court or complain to the police said Vrentasa Watson had “begged” her to have sex several times during the massage, including putting her mouth to her penis.

“I specifically had to say, ‘No, I can’t do that,'” she said.

Watson and his well-connected law team have consistently denied any wrongdoing. They admit that sexual intercourse took place three times, but only after massage and always at the instigation of women. “I understand the seriousness of the allegations,” Watson told a news conference in March. “I have never raped a single woman. I have never disrespected any woman. “

Once the Browns, desperate for a proud championship and losing their dignity, offered him a better deal than Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, his innocence claims intensified: $ 230 million, every penny is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, NFL investigators are investigating the allegations and Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to decide soon on Watson’s possible punishment. History is not heartwarming.

In 2014, under pressure after video evidence was published, Goodell admitted that Rice had mismanaged the domestic violence case and promised to do better. But what has changed other than empty promises and marketing campaigns aimed at attracting female fans?

In 2018, Kareem Hunt Kareem Hunt, one of the most promising running players in football at the time, was filmed knocking a woman to the ground and kicking her. Although the woman did not accuse, the NFL punished Hunt for eight games. Guess who signed Hunt after Kansas City sent him to pack.

The Cleveland Browns did just that. It is clear that the suspension of the half-season does not send any real message.

When you say that the NFL cares about women and the behavior of everyone in the league, it’s hard to see how anyone can take the NFL seriously. Not after his mild responses to Rice and Hunt. After that, Antonio Brown was not allowed to play for Tampa Bay and become a star in the 2021 Super Bowl because he was facing sexual harassment charges and a lawsuit accusing him of rape. When the league could not properly punish the Washington Commanders, the team owner Daniel Snyder was a team full of harassment complaints.

The league must send the strongest message that sexual exploitation will not be allowed.

I know that deportation may seem to some to be a radical, extremely harsh punishment. A significant portion of the NFL fan base says Watson should not be punished at all. He is innocent until proven guilty, and those who apologize say he is part of a club that values ​​bread and circus entertainment more than doing the right thing.

But the NFL can do whatever it wants.

Imagine Watson driving a car dealership. Imagine that her bosses learned that she was facing 24 civil lawsuits for sexual exploitation. How long will he have to work?

Imagine that Watson was an NFL experienced player that very few people heard of. Will he get a second chance from the teams and the league? No. Travelers are not given a second chance. For the stars, it’s different (unless you’re a star who kneels during the national anthem and leads a protest against police brutality against blacks).

If you really want to imagine something, imagine that you are a wealthy, famous client who has never met, a masseur who trusts you, and in the end you are a masseur who has been so offended and humiliated, that you have lost your job forever as one of Watson’s accusers. Maybe that’s all you have to do.

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