The NFL is trying to get back to normal after the years of anti-American anthem protests.
The league has toned down the politics and avoided the bad press.
But one NFL superstar is not out of the woods from a huge sex scandal.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the best young superstars in the league.
He lost an entire year of his prime in the 2021-22 season because of two dozen sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Prior to the allegations, Watson had demanded a trade from the Houston Texans, but no team would touch him while he had the potential of multiple felonies hanging over his head, so he missed the entire year.
However, a grand jury recently declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, which created a market bonanza for the star quarterback.
Watson ultimately chose to get traded to the Cleveland Browns, but he’s still not out of the woods regarding the sexual impropriety allegations.
The civil cases against him are still pending, and HBO’s Real Sports is about to air an episode where some of his accusers will go public with their claims.
Tuesday's episode of HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will have @soledadobrien sitting down with "several women who have accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct… for their first ever national TV interview," per an HBO press release.
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) May 20, 2022
The NFL has yet to discipline Watson, but Commissioner Roger Goodell still could if he chooses to do so.
There is precedent for players to get suspensions without being convicted of any crimes.
Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who’s representing many of the women suing Watson, released in a statement:
“HBO approached us and asked if our clients would be willing to speak on the record for the Real Sports program. As was the case with speaking with law enforcement and the NFL, we left the decision whether to speak publicly up to the clients themselves. Two chose to do so. These women are the most brave and courageous I’ve ever met. This firm is extremely proud to represent them. During the filming process I was impressed with HBO’s diligence and insistence on fairness. Despite our request, HBO refused to provide us before-hand the questions they intended to ask. And, I can tell you, hard questions were in fact asked—not only to our clients but to me as well. This firm has been trying and winning civil cases for twenty-five years; we are extremely confident in these cases. As each witness testified in the pre-trial discovery process, the evidence against Deshaun Watson continues to mount. The walls , as they say, are closing in. We look forward to trying these cases in court as soon as practicable. We are very confident that, in the end, justice will be done.”
Watson may have avoided criminal charges, but he could still be savaged in the court of public opinion.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was run out of the league over a handful of emails sent privately over a decade ago.
Watson better hope none of the accusations are too salacious.