Social media, podcasts, and sports stations are full of opinions and ideas about Deshaun Watson these days.
And it seems the only people unwilling to talk about his situation are the Cleveland Browns.
There is not even an official “no comment” to be heard from the front office in Berea.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski is sticking with his company-provided line about letting the legal process play out.
But at least one sports legal analyst thinks the Browns could be pushed into a big response soon.
Amy Dash, who has appeared on both CBS and Fox Sports networks says the Browns have a radical option.
The @Browns have built a strong out into the contract. If Watson did in fact get massages from 66 different women in 17 months, lawsuit number 24 may be just the beginning. If more criminal complaints are filed, Browns may decide it is just not worth it… https://t.co/Sp0XAeA77A
— Amy Dash (@AmyDashTV) June 7, 2022
Thanks to what she calls “a strong out” written into the contract, Dash says the team could cancel Watson’s deal.
Although she concedes that it will take more than the 24th lawsuit filed, it might not take much more.
Accusations Are Adding Up
Cleveland braced itself for the expected backlash for signing a quarterback with 22 sexual misconduct lawsuits.
And it is rightfully playing the waiting game regarding the NFL’s pending disciplinary process.
Most insiders expected no more than a half-season lost, but guesses range from none to an indefinite suspension.
Last week, the New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas opened a whole new avenue to explore.
#Browns Kevin Stefanski declines to get into specifics about the new lawsuit and investigation by The Times into Deshaun Watson and reiterates they are "being respectful of the process."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 8, 2022
Times reporters uncovered 66 different women with whom Watson scheduled massages in a 17-month period.
One session per week might not be as bad as it first sounds, but there is a bigger issue.
At his introductory press conference, Watson said he saw “about 40” different women over 5 years in Houston.
And given his lawyer never heard of complainant #24, the implication is Watson has been less than totally honest.
What Could Push Cleveland To Act?
With the NFL’s disciplinary decision due soon, the Browns will undoubtedly hold off on comments and actions.
After all, if the league decides to suspend Watson indefinitely, why show a different hand?
But don’t mistake silence for lack of worry over Watson’s previous explanations and plight.
Dash could be right that the 24th lawsuit is the tip of an iceberg.
Deshaun Watson's lead counsel believes there's a "good possibility" the NFL will make a decision he won't like but calls it a "hell of a detailed investigation" by the league. https://t.co/aC0CtE1tbA
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) June 5, 2022
Several women who are not suing Watson gave their first statements to the Times reporter.
And they shared details that support the contention that Watson’s actions were pre-planned.
It does not appear the latest lawsuits will lead to criminal allegations, but they strengthen the civil case.
That could lead to more lawsuits and more questions, pushing the NFL or the Browns to react.