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BRB Groupthink: The Deshaun Watson Situation

SB Nation logo SB Nation 4/8/2021 Matt Weston
a football player holding a bat on a field © Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Deshaun Watson is at allegation #22. This week his accusers have spoken out against him, putting a face and name to the allegations, Sam Darnold was traded to Carolina, removing two teams from the Watson trade picture; and Nike, Reliant, and Beats all dropped their endorsement deals with him.

How do you think this plays out? Does this open the door for Watson to play for the Texans again?

These were the questions I asked the masthead. These are our responses:

MATT WESTON:

Since this is a civil case, not a legal case yet, the defense only needs to offer a preponderance of evidence that Deshaun Watson conducted sexual misconduct when receiving massages. 22 allegations. The testimonies provided by the women who worked with Watson. Companies dropping their endorsements. Instagram direct messages. The only things Watson has are testimony from a few therapists that their massages went completely normal when Watson received a massage from them, which has nothing to do with what the other victims could have gone through, and that hush money was requested prior to the case itself. All signs point to Watson losing a civil case.

This has nothing to do with the NFL’s investigation. The NFL has no laws to follow, or checks and balances, whatever Roger Goodell says goes. He’s the executioner. Whatever Goodell deems as reasonable punishment goes. Eight games. Twelve games. One year. It all depends on the weather.

For these reasons, for those things, I see Watson settling out of court before a civil case begins, and the NFL suspending him for a minimum of eight games, and because of the number of accusers, it could be for the entire season.

This opens the door for Watson to remain in Houston. With his trade value plummeted, and a variety of teams not wanting someone with his image playing for him, Houston would have been better off not trading him before the allegations, and still would afterwards. At the very least, this pushes the trade to next season. It doesn’t make sense for Houston, a bad rebuilding football team, to trade him early because of the allegations. There is always a team who will want the player of the caliber, regardless of his off-field actions.

My guess is, Watson pays out of court, is suspended for at least half the 2021 season, he doesn’t play in Houston again, and he’s traded the following season, which opens the door for Philadelphia and Miami to utilize their multiple first round selections to add him. The end result is the same. The time table just changes.

BIGFATDRUNK:

Anybody who thinks they know precisely what will happen is a lying liar that lies. So, here’s my hawtest of taeks.

At this point, I believe that Deshaun Watson is suspended for the first eight (8) weeks of the season. After that, he takes over at QB for Colt McCoy, who had to take over at the position for an injured Tyrod Taylor. Watson plays solid but mediocre ball, clearly shaking off the rust and playing with a dumpster dive of a roster, the rest of the way.

In the 2022 off-season, Caserio trades Watson for a couple 2nd round picks, and the homer fanbase will praise Jack Easterby for figuring out what we had in Watson from the get-go.

The Texans will continue to be a very, very stupid organization.

RIVERS McCOWN:

I think the door has only ever been closed from one side. The Texans have never wanted to trade him. It’s all up to what Watson believes is the best path for his future.

L4BLITZER:

This is just an ugly situation that is getting uglier all the time. Makes you long for the good old days of the 2020 regular season, when the on-field ineptitude could at least offer some respite from the off-field drama. Unfortunately, I don’t see a quick end to this mess.

Before yesterday, I didn’t think there was much a chance Watson would willingly come back to the Texans. However, he just lost a big source of cash flow with the various companies either suspending and/or dropping him as a sponsor. The principled stand against playing for the team and taking the financial hit of no salary/fines is a lot easier when there are other streams of income out there to mitigate the losses. With that gone, and the legal bills adding up, Watson may not be real happy about coming back to the play for the Texans, but his bank account may tell him otherwise. The trade market will most likely remain dead pending action from the NFL and/or the legal system.

As for the projected NFL action, that may be coming, but right now, there is not the massive pressure to act. The NFL took its sweet time with Antonio Brown, and I would expect the same here. What will the suspension look like? Well, not great for Watson’s stat line/bank account. If a fraction of these allegations are proven true, even in civil court, eight games would be a best case for Watson. Yet, I don’t know if the NFL will act before the 2021 off-season, unless the sports’ punditry press the issue. The standoff may yet continue between Watson and the McEasterbys coming into the 2021 pre-season, but the advantage has shifted to the later.

MIKE BULLOCK:

Unlike so many people on the intranetz who want to play judge, jury and executioner in the court of public opinion, I’m really withholding judgement until all the facts are out. Right now, this has really been very one-sided, with an attorney whose moral standing is publicly questioned multiple times, a group of women who are making extremely troubling accusations, and the torch and pitchfork crowd fanning the flames.

On the other side, we’ve seen Watson deny it all, seen the allegations that this is some sort of cash grab/career move for Buzbee and those he represents based on a litany of alleged conspiratorial agendas and heard from an almost equal number of women who side with Deshaun.

Watson’s side also has far less grand-standing. It’s hard to take an attorney seriously who appears to want to make a circus out of very serious matters, as Buzbee seems to be striving to do. But an attorney’s used car salesman antics don’t mean Deshaun is innocent.

At this point, it’s still too early in the discovery of just what actually happened to draw an educated conclusion to these events. Everyone really needs to read Steph Stradley’s FAQ on this and follow her advice to refrain from passing judgement until all the facts are out in the open.

If Watson did these things, then he needs to be kicked out of the NFL – permanently. If he’s guilty of sexual assault, he needs to go to jail - it’s one of the most heinous crimes anyone can commit and if he did, he deserves the full punishment due. That includes never again playing in the NFL and benefiting personally from the cash cow that is professional sports. The NFL, and most professional sports or other organizations dealing in billions of dollars annually, has been historically lax on punishing players/personnel who participate in crimes against women. It’s totally reprehensible, but history speaks for itself.

Sexual assault, sex trafficking and these sorts of behaviors shouldn’t exist in our society and the people who commit/enable them should be kicked off the planet. According to the US government website that tracks such things, an estimated 6-800,000 women and children are sex trafficked each year. That’s horrific. And, it’s directly tied to the alleged behavior exhibited by the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Kraft and many other high profile NFL personalities. And, what Watson is accused of is as well.

If Watson didn’t do these things, he needs swift and total exoneration.

Unfortunately, I know far too many women who have endured sexual assault—it forever alters the course of their lives, for the worse. One woman actually told me she would have preferred it if her rapist had just killed her.

I’ve also known people wrongfully accused of it. One guy lost his job, only to have the company learn the accuser was wrong, but they wouldn’t rehire him because they ‘felt it sends the wrong message’ whatever that means.

Both groups are victims; neither behavior is ok, nor should it be tolerated by our society - but both are in many dark, fetid corners of humanity.

In scenario 1, the Houston Texans need to vest themselves of Deshaun Watson as soon as they’re made aware of the findings.

In scenario 2, we’re back at square one where Watson doesn’t want to play for the Texans. However, all this might change how he feels depending on how the McNair’s treat him as this all plays out.

In the end, I just don’t know what’s going to happen and don’t want to rush to judgement simply to do so.

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