NFL wants to meet again with Deshaun Watson, and Browns should be concerned – Terry Pluto

CLEVELAND, Ohio – My guess is most Browns fans are already sick of the Deshaun Watson case.

They probably want the NFL to make a ruling about a possible suspension. No? Yes? If so, how many games?

I don’t know much about the case, and neither do most people – especially many expressing strong opinions. The latest is the NFL will consider the 2-year suspension given to Trevor Bauer for his having “rough sex” by Major League Baseball when it comes to determining a penalty for Watson.

That’s two different types of cases, two different leagues.

The NFL is expected to meet with Watson again, according to a story by cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. She talked to Rusty Hardin, the lawyer for Watson. He expects the NFL to make a decision by June or July. Watson talked to the NFL for three days earlier in the week. Apparently, the league wants to know more about his situation.

“This idea that [the NFL] hasn’t aggressively investigated this is totally, totally false as evidenced by the fact he’s already spent three days with them,” Hardin told Cabot. “They’ve obviously done a bunch of research and done a lot of work themselves and they say need to do some more.”

There are 24 massage therapists who have accused Watson of some type of sexual misconduct. Twenty-two have filed civil law suits. Two Texas grand juries heard the case, then refused to indict him on criminal charges. That is something Watson’s lawyers will stress. But the NFL has suspended several other players when criminal charges weren’t filed.

A COMPLICATED CASE

Watson has produced 18 message therapists who say they have treated the QB and everything was proper. There are names attached to those statements.

Then the attorney for those suing Watson filed a motion demanding Watson answer questions about his sexual history with all or any of the 18 therapists who are supporting him. A Texas judge ruled Watson must comply with that request.

This is a complicated case, both for the civil court system and the NFL. Something else is clear – this is an unsavory case.

Among other things, Watson has used at least 40 different massage therapists. Most athletes have very few therapists and doctors of any type whom they allow to treat them. Watson has a lot of explaining to do about why he was shopping for so many different therapists.

During one of the depositions given by Watson, he admitted one of the therapists cried, according to a USA Today story.

According to USA’s Today Brent Schrotenboer, Watson said in the deposition: “She was teary-eyed and I was trying to figure out what was going on. So, I assumed that she was uncomfortable for whatever reason. And we talked about working in the future. And so, I said, `We can work in the future. Just let me know.’ And then I sent my apologies as whatever reason she was teary-eyed for.”

The therapist didn’t reply to Watson, according to the lawsuit.

THE PRICE IS STEEP

Before the deal was done, I didn’t want the Browns to come near Watson because there are so many pending off-field issues and a possible suspension. Then you add in the $230 million contract, the highest fully guaranteed in NFL history. Watson also has a no-trade clause.

The Browns also traded six draft picks to Houston, including first-round selections in 2022, 2023 and 2024 as part of the deal with Houston.

Watson has denied doing anything wrong, but the fact is his camp offered a $100,000 settlement to at least one of the therapists in 2021. Some of Watson’s accusers are going public with an HBO interview this week. That won’t be pretty.

While public relations isn’t everything, this move has upset some Browns fans. I’ve heard from them. Many of them are women who love the team.

I’ve also heard from many fans who are sick of their team not having consistently effective QB play. They are willing to believe Watson will work through his off-field problems and become an elite QB. Winning will take care of everything, is their opinion.

But first, we wait for the NFL to rule.

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