The NFL has another full-blown crisis on its hands.
It has barely gotten past the anti-American anthem protests that tarnished the league’s brand.
Now an NFL superstar’s career could be on the brink because of one growing sex scandal.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is still being put through the wringer for his alleged sexual misconduct with two dozen massage therapists.
While criminal charges hanged over his head, Watson was essentially forced to sit out the entire 2021-22 NFL season.
After a grand jury failed to indict Watson, teams felt comfortable trading for him; the Houston Texans honored his request to be traded and sent him to the Browns.
But the civil charges still loom, and due to accusations alone, members of the media aren’t calling for a harsh suspension; they want him out of the league altogether.
From The New York Times:
“Twenty-two accusers. No, this just in, make that 23. Wait, now it’s 24. Should the N.F.L. suspend Deshaun Watson, the quarterback who got a $230 million deal from the Cleveland Browns even though he has been accused of harassment and assault by a steadily growing list of female massage therapists? Sure, the league could do that, and given the slop bucket of allegations, it wouldn’t be surprising if it did. But should it? If you go on Browns message boards…a lot of people are making the case that Watson, the former Houston Texans quarterback, should never throw an N.F.L. pass again. A suspension for a set number of games this coming season, their thinking goes, is not enough. Nor is a season, or even two, off. If America’s most popular sports league is to honor its pledge to stand behind women and victims of abuse, Watson needs to be barred.”
That is a jaw-dropping punishment for a player that has not been convicted of a crime.
For this standard to be applied properly, a lot of famous people in media, entertainment, and politics would never be able to work again.
For example, the left would have to completely disavow people like Roman Polanski, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
Polanski is still celebrated by Hollywood; not long ago, Whoopi Goldberg defended him by saying his crime “wasn’t rape, rape.”
Bill Clinton would also be barred from speaking at the DNC or appearing at other party functions.
Brenda Tracy, a victims’ rights advocate, said that Watson “should not be playing in the league at all…It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand the lengths these leagues will go to protect these men. He needs to go.”
This is the same media that was silent when Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault.
The New York Times continued:
“Sure, such a move would be unprecedented. Watson vigorously proclaims his innocence, particularly now that two Texas grand juries have decided against proceeding with criminal charges — though that’s not rare in cases where women make sexual harassment claims. If barred, he would surely press the league for reinstatement. Maybe even sue. Let him try.”
The entire Watson saga is a nightmare for the league.
One of its young superstars is in the crosshairs of the media establishment, so no punishment short of total cancellation will be sufficient.