Deshaun Watson’s been reinstated into the league, and the opinions have begun to fly.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback was suspended for 11 games after being accused of assaulting over 20 massage therapists.
In June, Watson settled out of court in 20 of the currently outstanding 24 sexual misconduct cases against him. All of these stem from a 17-month stint of up to 66 masseuses he propositioned for sexual favors while giving him massages at his home and hotels.
The 11-game suspension is still less harsh than what punishment the NFL originally wanted, which was to suspend him for the entire 2022-23 season.
Just last month, Watson was introduced to another sexual misconduct lawsuit from a woman who says contact with Watson began back in December 2020 when he DM’d her on Instagram and requested a massage. It was during the COVID-19 lockdown, so she agreed to meet Watson at The Houstonian hotel, where he paid her $300, more than her usual $115 an hour.
The latest alleged victim’s lawyer released a statement via ESPN about the account, which mirrors the many other accusations that have been gone publicly about Watson.
“My client’s experience with Deshaun Watson follows a series of disturbingly similar encounters reported by more than 20 women who have filed suit against the NFL superstar,” Anissah Nguyen told ESPN.” Like so many others, my client spent nearly two years struggling to cope with the shame and trauma from all that he has stolen from her and the daily pain that has become her reality. “Knowing her story will bring on the hard conversations, criticism, and even victim-blaming, the strength and bravery of these other women gave my client the courage to stand up and speak out.”
Watson’s return to the league and debut as a Cleveland Brown comes with Jacoby Brissett being relieved of his QB1 duties. In his last start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brissett engineered a game-tying touchdown that triggered overtime and ultimately won the game.
Now with a 4-7 start on the season, the Cleveland Browns can still clinch a wild card berth. Watson’s set to start against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Dec. 4.