It appears the National Football League and Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson were able to arrive at a resolution that satisfies both parties. Instead of waiting to learn what former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey decided with regard to Watson’s initial six-game ban, Watson and the NFL finally agreed to an 11-game suspension for the embattled 26-year-old. He also has been fined $5 million, one of the largest in NFL history.
“Watson’s fine and contributions from the NFL and the Browns of $1 million each will create a fund of $7 million,” league commish Roger Goodell announced in a statement Thursday afternoon. “This fund will support the work of non-profit organizations across the country that educate young people on healthy relationship, promote education and prevention of sexual misconduct and assault, support survivors, and related causes.”
Watson issued his own statement via the Browns’ social media outlets, too. “I’m grateful that the disciplinary process has ended and extremely appreciative of the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” it read. “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made.
However, Watson fumbled his apology with made some remarks he made at a presser later that day at Brown’s camp. “I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone,” he told reporters. “But at the same point, I have to continue to push forward with my life and career…”
“That $5 million represents 2.1739% of Watson’s new $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, which was negotiated after more than two dozen women had accused the star athlete of sexual misconduct,” Christian Nunes told TMZ. “What is the point of a $5 million fine to Deshaun Watson — or to the NFL, which made an estimated $9.8 billion during the 2021 season, and more than $15 billion the season before?”
He’s not the only person to wasn’t happy with Watson’s lackluster apology.
“Deshaun Watson had a chance to show he could change, and he immediately blew it,” Scott Berkowitz, the president of The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), said. “His comments to the media make clear that he doesn’t really accept any responsibility for his actions, and that he still doesn’t understand how much harm he caused, or the impact on the dozens of survivors he hurt.”
Twitter was upset with how the NFL punished Watson as well. Check out some reactions below: