Deshaun Watson’s Case is a test of what the NFL means

Twenty-two defendants. No, just enter it, make it 23. Wait, it’s 24 now.

Should the NFL stop Dashon Watson, a quarterback who received a $ 230 million deal from the Cleveland Browns despite being accused of harassing and assaulting a steadily growing list of female masseurs?

Of course, the league could do that, and given the allegations, it would not be surprising. But should?

Whether you flip through Browns message boards, flip through Twitter, or just chat with some women, many people argue that Watson, a former Houston Texas midfielder, will never throw away his NFL pass.

In their view, stopping certain games this next season is not enough. Neither season, or even two, is off. If America’s most popular sports league is to deliver on its promise to stand behind women and victims of violence, Watson must be banned.

Watson “should not play in the league at all,” said Brenda Tracy, a well-known victim rights activist who travels across the country to a counseling college and professional athletes to resist harassment and abuse. “აციIt’s ridiculous. I do not understand how long these leagues take to protect these people. He has to go.”

Of course, such a move would be unprecedented. Watson vigorously pleads not guilty, especially now that two major Texas jurors have decided to prosecute – they think it is rare for women to file complaints of sexual harassment.

In case of a ban he will definitely click to restore the league. Maybe even sue. Let him try.

A signal would be sent: the NFL no longer wants to put games, myths and money ahead of absolutely everything.

I write this with a tired stomach. I’m still learning about the latest revelations about Watson, revealed by The New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas, whose report this week showed that the 26-year-old quarterback was more involved in suspicious behavior than anyone understood.

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

Well aware that their bodies are their vital blood vessels, most NFL players typically find no more than a few experts who perform soothing limb massages.

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

Some of the 66 supported Watson and publicly said he had done nothing wrong. But last week, two more women filed a lawsuit in the civil court, bringing the number of current defendants to 24. Some of the women who massaged Watson did not call a lawyer or police after that, but they even told The Times that Watson seemed to be looking for them. More than relief from pain. The sheer numbers are dizzying and the reflection of Watson’s aggression and power is appalling.

The woman who filed the last lawsuit claimed that Watson was masturbating during the massage, which he ended up satisfying and demeaning.

The woman, who decided not to sue and did not complain to the police, told Vrentas that Watson repeatedly complained about sexual intercourse during the massage, including “begging” her to put her mouth on his penis.

“I have to say specifically: no, I can not do that,” the woman said.

Watson and his well-connected legal team consistently deny any wrongdoing. They admit that sex has happened three times, but only after a massage and always with the encouragement of women. “I understand the seriousness of the allegations,” Watson told a news conference in March.. “I have never abused a single woman. “I have never disrespected any woman.”

His claims of innocence intensified when the Browns, once a proud team, now so desperate for the championship that he lost his dignity, gave him a better deal than Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers and Russell Wilson: $ 230 million each. As is well known, a penny is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, NFL investigators are considering the charges, and Commissioner Roger Goodell is likely to decide soon on a possible punishment for Watson. History is not convincing.

In 2014, Goodell, under pressure after the release of video evidence, admitted that Ray Rice’s domestic violence case had been misdiagnosed and vowed to behave better. But what has changed besides empty promises and marketing campaigns aimed at attracting female fans?

In 2018, Kansas City’s Karim Hunt, who was one of the most promising defenders in football at the time, was videotaped when a woman jumps to the ground and kicks. The NFL has suspended Hunt for eight games, although the woman has not been charged. Guess who signed Hunt after Kansas City sent him the bundle.

Cleveland Browns did. Obviously, half-season suspensions do not send a real message.

It’s hard to see how anyone can take the NFL seriously when he says he cares about women and everyone associated with the league. Not after his meek answers to Rice and Hunt. After Antonio Brown was barred from playing in Tampa Bay and played in the 2021 Super Bowl after he faced charges of sexual harassment and was raped in court. Not when the league fails to properly punish Washington’s commanders, a team steeped in harassment complaints that has thrown even team owner Daniel Snyder.

The league must send the strongest message that sexual misconduct will be unacceptable.

I know that eviction can sound like a radical, overly harsh punishment to someone. A significant portion of the NFL fan base says Watson should not be punished at all. Innocent until the crime is proven, say these apologists, part of a club that cares more about the fun of the bread and the circus than doing the right thing.

But the NFL can do as it pleases.

Imagine Watson driving a car dealer. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. How long would he have a job?

Imagine Watson being an NFL practicing player about whom little has been heard. Will he get second chances from teams and the league? No. Travelers do not have a second chance. This is different for celebrities (unless you are a star who kneels down during the national anthem and leads a protest against police violence against blacks).

If you really want to imagine something, imagine that you are a masseur who trusted a wealthy, famous client you never met and ended up so injured and humiliated that you left the job forever, as one of Watson’s accusers did. Maybe this is the whole imagination that you need to do.

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