When the Cleveland Browns first acquired star quarterback Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason, there was a wave of optimism among their long-suffering fans, especially given the tense situation surrounding incumbent QB Baker Mayfield.
But as they await a likely suspension for Watson, there is more and more scorn coming his way.
Watson has been accused of misconduct by many women during massage therapy sessions, and although he will not face criminal charges, he is currently facing 24 civil lawsuits regarding the incidents in question.
But more are apparently on the way.
A 25th and 26th civil suit v. Deshaun Watson coming soon. https://t.co/gTfMS5ucQs
— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) June 14, 2022
Many Browns fans are frustrated that the team decided to go with a player who has been accused of such indecent acts, and fans of other teams are seemingly laughing in the faces of the Browns and their supporters.
Deshaun Watson has as many SA cases as the browns have wins from 2011-2017, crazy stat of the day 😭😭😭
— Rico 🧃 (@PickettTroll) June 7, 2022
Two more DeShaun Watson lawsuits coming out.
When will it end?
Get this guy out of the league and fast.
— Mike Nicastro (@MikedUpSports1) June 14, 2022
— GOOD JOB MARCUS🍊 (@marcusdavis904) June 8, 2022
Day 4 of manifesting a Deshaun Watson complete ACL tear
— 𝙟𝙖𝙮 ッ (@toneytime_) June 14, 2022
@NFL You say how the NFL is proud to support this and proud to support that. Well how about support those women Deshaun Watson violated!!! Until you do that, the other stuff doesn't even matter!!
— Blaine (@Blaine98035699) June 14, 2022
However, there is a small contingent of the Dawg Pound that seems to still be in Watson’s corner and holds high hopes for him and his new team.
🚨 🚨Who wants attention and a check??? Join the fake and foolish Deshaun Watson lawsuit today. 🚨 🚨
— No SqUaReS in my CiRcLe 🦂 (@WCommanders14) June 14, 2022
— Jarrod Thomas (@JTKNOXRADIO) June 14, 2022
The Evidence Is Mounting
Normally, in cases like this, women are afraid to come forward and give any details of the alleged incident, citing public embarrassment and perhaps members of their family learning such details.
But in this #metoo era, women are more empowered than ever, and there seems to be less tolerance than ever before for any type of misogynistic behavior.
On a recent episode of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” two of Watson’s accusers were interviewed, and they revealed the shocking details of their massage therapy sessions with the three-time Pro Bowler.
Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times recently wrote a lengthy exposé article in which, among other things, it was stated that Watson had hired at least 66 different massage therapists during a span of just 17 months.
It is widely believed that the NFL is going to make a decision on whether to suspend him and for how long within a few weeks.
The sooner the better, because if or when Watson is suspended, the Browns will need to figure out what to do without him in order to be a competitive team in the interim.
After The Storm Cloud Clears
There is an old saying that life is 10 percent what happens to someone and 90 percent what they do about it.
If Watson is mandated to miss some games, all he can do is grow from this situation and become a better man.
Luckily, he is just 26 years of age, and even if he gets suspended for an entire season, he should still have plenty of high-level football left in his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame.
The Browns have assembled a competitive roster over the last few years, and most of their key players on both sides of the football are young.
That means that Watson may have the opportunity to come out on the other side of this fiasco as a productive member of a winning team.
Sports fans love a redemption story, and Watson could turn into one, but it will be very hard for him to win back the trust of a nation.