Deshaun Watson Answers Tough Questions About Accusations In Press Conference With The Cleveland Browns
On March 18, the Cleveland Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in a deal that also included three first-round draft picks going to Houston.
Watson was not charged by a Grand Jury in Brazoria County on Thursday for alleged sexual misconduct, marking the second time he has averted indictment in days.
Taking the podium for the first time as a member of the Cleveland Browns, Watson asserted his innocence.
One reporter boldly asked Watson about the number of allegations, asking whether we should all believe that 22 women just made them all up.
“I understand the seriousness of the allegations,” Watson replied. “I’ve never assaulted a single woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman.”
When asked about how his image has been affected because of the accusations, Watson said, “I understand that there’s going to be a stain that’s probably going to stick with me for a while. I’ve never done the things these people are alleging. I’m going to continue to fight for my name and clear my name.”
Watson was accused by 22 women of alleged sexual misconduct, but has now steered clear of two Grand Jury indictments. However, Watson is still facing 22 civil suits and could be suspended by the NFL under the Personal Conduct Policy.
Browns GM Andrew Berry, in his opening statement, addressed the scrutiny the team has received since signing Watson.
“We as an organization know this transaction has been very difficult for many people, particularly women in our community. We realize it has triggered a range of emotions. The nature of the allegations weighed heavily on all of us. We do have confidence and faith in Deshaun as a person.”
The Browns mentioned that they did their due diligence, particularly with regard to the legal process and decided even before the Grand Jury met that they were comfortable with Deshaun as a person. However, they waited for due process to play out.
When speaking on his ability to help in the community, Watson had a clear response.
“The biggest thing for me as a person is I’m genuine,” Watson said. “I’m a hard working servant leader in the community who loves to give back. I want to show that eventually and get out in the community.”
Reporters asked Watson why he didn’t just stick with one massage therapist, remarking that 40 was a lot. Watson claimed it was because he has met a lot of people over the five years he was with the Texans.
When Watson was asked if he will consider going to counseling. “The counseling part is hard because I don’t have a problem. I don’t have an issue.”
Watson also claims he didn’t even know about the contract offer from the Browns until after he decided on choosing Cleveland. The Browns offered the quarterback a $230 million dollar deal, with he then signed once agreeing to join the Browns.
Notable that both Browns owners, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, were not present for the introductory press conference.
“We do have faith in him as a person,” Andrew Berry said. “We aren’t naive in that there is still work to do. We do have faith that Deshaun Watson will not only meed the expectations, but exceed them.”
The Browns did mention that they put language in Watson’s contract that protects the club in the event of a suspension, but wouldn’t get into specifics.