CLEVELAND — As the NFL is considering possible punishment for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in relation to his legal case, some new details are emerging as part of his civil testimonies last week.
A leaked deposition obtained by USA Today shows Watson admitted a Houston area massage therapist accusing him of sexual misconduct cried at the end of one of their sessions back in 2020. Watson answered questions regarding that encounter that ended in tears, saying he texted the woman and apologized with the words, "Sorry about you feeling uncomfortable. Never were the intentions. [Let me know] if you want to work in the future. My apologies."
When asked why he texted the woman if he had done nothing wrong, Watson said he saw the woman was upset and was trying to figure out what was going on. We're all trying to figure that out as well.
This, obviously, is starting to spiral, and you wonder about the momentum of the case. I'm going to bring in a different twist to what I think might have changed that momentum and how the NFL handles this matter.
It comes from baseball. Why, you ask? Trevor Bauer, suspended from MLB for two years (pending appeal) because of sexual allegations against him.
Unlike with Watson, there was a video involved in Bauer's situation, but that was still a heavy, heavy punishment handed down. Like Watson, there have been no criminal charges filed against Bauer at this time.
As the NFL wraps up its meetings with Watson, I believe the more and more testimony that is leaked in this situation is really going to sour the whole perception of what's going on. As more details come out, I don't think it's very good; it's bizarre, it's weird, and I think it's disturbing to a lot of people.
The problem that Deshaun Watson has right now is that the more this happens, the more details that come out against him, the problem might be the NFL saying, "Listen, we have to do something."
I go back to Watson's press conference, when he was finally officially introduced on that Friday afternoon as the new quarterback of the Cleveland Browns (along with a $230 million guaranteed contract). He was asked several times during the exchange with the media:
"Do you have a problem?"
"No, I do not have a problem."
"Do you need counseling?"
"No, I do not need counseling."
"Are you going to settle these cases?"
"Why would I settle the cases? I haven't done anything wrong."
That continues to be his stance. Football-wise, things are going amazingly well out in Berea, but the Browns, all of you, me, the rest of the NFL, and I would have to think Deshaun Watson are wondering: What kind of season is he going to have here in Cleveland? Is it going to be 17 games? Ten games? Half of the season? Is he going to play at all? Will the NFL even make a ruling until the civil cases are litigated and there's some kind of resolution?
We're really all on hold, but I believe we are getting to the point—at least from the NFL investigation—where they are at the line where they probably have to make a decision for all concerned: For the 22 women involved, for Deshaun Watson, for the Cleveland Browns, and for league play, too.
Right now, at least with what happened today, the momentum seems to be in a negative way.