Over the last year and a half, the Deshaun Watson saga has been at the forefront of nearly every news cycle. On Monday morning, Judge Sue Robinson levied a six-game suspension against the Browns’ star quarterback for his 24 accused sexual assaults.
The next step is a possible appeal from the NFL, as the NFLPA has said that they won’t appeal. An appeal by the NFL would put the decision in the hands of commissioner Roger Goodell.
Difference between Calvin Rildley & Deshaun Watson:
Judge Robinson, who was approved by the NFL & NFLPA, recommended 6 games. NFL wanted a full season.
The NFL (not a judge) suspended Ridley for a full season.
The NFL could step in with Watson and appeal. We'll see if they do.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 1, 2022
The #NFL now must grapple with whether Roger Goodell is a more fair/accurate/appropriate arbiter of justice in the Deshaun Watson case than an impartially appointed federal judge who weighed the presented evidence for a month. It’s a sizable question with a consequential answer.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 1, 2022
One of the intriguing elements of this is what Judge Robinson said about the suspension. She claimed that the sexual conduct allegations were “nonviolent” which is what led to the short suspension.
Judge Sue L. Robinson’s decision says Deshaun Watson’s “pattern of behavior was egregious,” but notes that behavior was “nonviolent sexual conduct” in explaining the decision to suspend him six games, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 1, 2022
How Judge Robinson phrased her decision was baffling. Was she trying to say that “nonviolent sexual misconduct” is somehow better than that of a violent nature? This set the internet on fire.
Any form of what this refers to as “sexual conduct” that isn’t completely consensual is a form of violence — so the basis of any argument for the absurdly weak suspension is completely false and very dangerous https://t.co/sg2s62EXIv
— Charlotte Wilder (@TheWilderThings) August 1, 2022
I dare her to look any victim of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault in the eyes while trying to use the phrase "nonviolent sexual conduct" to downplay the severity of alleged crimes.
The effects of these acts are forever life-altering. https://t.co/9zzkLUKVwQ
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) August 1, 2022
This sends a hell of a message:
If you get sexually assaulted, stay silent as it's not a big deal unless you get severely physically beaten
When nothing happens when people report, it leads to a lack of reporting in the future. Which leads to more abuse being permitted… https://t.co/db7RTlAlzm
— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) August 1, 2022
The suspension itself invoked a lot of reaction and emotion from all sides of the internet.
The Deshaun Watson suspension is ridiculous. Six games is ridiculously low. A player engaged in serial sexually predatory behavior and was aided and abetted by an NFL team.
If the NFL doesn’t expand it on appeal it sends a message to every team: Keep signing criminals. It’s fine
— Rob “Stats” Guerrera (@StatsOnFire) August 1, 2022
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center issued the following statement regarding the decision on #Browns QB Deshaun Watson, saying that the organization is "disappointed by the decision": pic.twitter.com/82VU6xWBKL
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson essentially got all that money from the Browns to buy silence from all these women so he could play as much football as possible.
There's your truth.
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) August 1, 2022
If you see Deshaun Watson and the Browns as “the winners”here, it begs the question: Who do you see as the losers? The 30 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct and worse? pic.twitter.com/yFq0VcgGDL
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) August 1, 2022
Thoughts on Deshaun Watson and 6 games pic.twitter.com/GBLoa7V7kY
— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) August 1, 2022
The idea that Watson served a de facto suspension in Houston last year is folly.
People, he didn't want to play for the Texans and was paid to not do so.
That is not a suspension. Please.
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) August 1, 2022
So many thoughts on this initial six-game suspension for Deshaun Watson. It’s crazy for the arbiter to say his conduct was “egregious” and then give him such a soft punishment. This was a fail in her first significant ruling, and the league should appeal it.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) August 1, 2022
closer look at the Cleveland Browns schedule *THAT THE NFL INTENTIONALLY GAVE THEM* during Deshaun Watson's 6-game suspension:
#1 easiest in the NFL
only 1 game vs a team projected to have a winning record
only 2 road games
toughest road game is wk 1 @ Panthers (Baker's team)
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson will lose NONE of his $44.9 million signing bonus.
He received his first $15M yesterday.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson was accused by 24 women of sexual misconduct and the NFL suspended him six games
We wish we were joking pic.twitter.com/Wq7JNiSILo
— The GIST USA (@thegistusa) August 1, 2022
There was enough evidence against Deshaun Watson that the investigator declared he shouldn't be allowed to get a massage outside of the team facility and the NFLPA accepted that conclusion, but he's only been suspended 6 games. Make it make sense.
— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) August 1, 2022
Judge Sue Robinson and the NFL do not value women. Deshaun Watson only being suspended six games is a miscarriage of just and a slap in the face to the victims.
— Eric 🐐 (@EricLyonsTV) August 1, 2022
— Ginger Jack (@49ersBBQLover) August 1, 2022
Deciding that Deshaun Watson is a predator and a danger to women massage therapists, then only giving him a six-game suspension is bonkers. https://t.co/S4jjhFRIPh
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) August 1, 2022
“The message being sent across the board is if you’re a woman do not get involved with the National Football League.” – @hbryant42 on Deshaun Watson being suspended 6 games following two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct made against him.
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) August 1, 2022
I am stunned there is NO fine for DeShaun Watson…stunned —Hew sat out all last season BUT he got fully paid… 10 plus Million $$
— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) August 1, 2022
Still waiting for Deshaun Watson to explain why he had dozens of different massage therapists instead of finding one who specialized in the type of injury he had, why every one of them was female, and why he thought Instagram was the best place to find medical professionals.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 1, 2022
One of the bigger narratives surrounding the suspension is the direct comparison to others, including Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He was suspended for at least the 2022 season for sports gambling, including betting on his own team. Other players were mentioned as well, including former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. He was also suspended six games for a sexual assault allegation.
Tom Brady legit got a four game suspension for allegedly deflating footballs with no evidence.
Deshaun Watson got just a six game suspension for sexual misconduct involving 20+ lawsuits with evidence from 20+ women.
The NFL should be ashamed of themselves.
— Jordan Moore (@iJordanMoore) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson had 22 more accusations against him than Ben Roethlisberger had, and got the same initial suspension.
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) August 1, 2022
Colin Kaepernick was black listed by the NFL for kneeling during a song.
Deshaun Watson got the most guaranteed money ever given to any player, and a quarter-game suspension for every women who alleged sexual misconduct.
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) August 1, 2022
Recent NFL punishments:
-DeAndre Hopkins: illegal substance (6 gm suspension, $5.2 mil fine)
-Calvin Ridley: gambling (indefinite suspension, $11 mil fine)
-Deshaun Watson: accused of sexual assault by 25 women (6 gm suspension, $345 thousand fine)
Terrible standard to set
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) August 1, 2022
If your personal conduct policy leads to DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson getting the exact same suspension, you need a new personal conduct policy.
— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) August 1, 2022
Ben Roethlisberger, 2 accusations, suspended 6 games
Deshaun Watson, 30 accusations, suspended 6 games https://t.co/UF5zRILFcN
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 1, 2022
Remember that Calvin Ridley was suspended for an entire season for betting on games he wasn’t even playing in.
Weak suspension for Deshaun Watson, but I’m not surprised in the slightest.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson gets 6 games for more than 2 dozen sexual lawsuits:
Mike Vick, dog fighting: indefinite suspension.
Mychal Kendricks, insider trading: 8 games.
Ricky Williams, drug suspension: season.
Josh Gordon, drug suspension: indefinite.
Calvin Ridley, gambling: season.
— Justin Barney (@JustinBarneyTV) August 1, 2022
Deshaun Watson missing the same amount of games as DeAndre Hopkins is incredibly gross.
— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) August 1, 2022
Calvin Ridley: 17 games, betting
Vontaze Burfict: 12 games, targeting
DeAndre Hopkins: 6 games, PED
Martavis Bryant: Indefinitely, Weed
Josh Gordon: 25+ games, Weed
Darren Waller: 16 games, substance abuse
DeShaun Watson: 6 games, 25 SV accusations
— Tristen Kuhn (@KuhnTristen) August 1, 2022
Calvin Ridley made a bet that his team will win a game in the NFL
He got suspended indefinitely, through at least the entire 2022 season and possibly more.
He also lost $11.1 million in salary.
Deshaun Watson meanwhile received 6 game suspension, he'll only lose less than $1M. https://t.co/hAt2Ft6TmJ
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 1, 2022
Weird that being a serial pervert with over two dozen women gets you six games, but if Deshaun Watson made a parlay bet with one woman he’d get a full year.
— Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) August 1, 2022
Tyler Forness contributed to this report