The NFL hasn’t said much, the Texans haven’t said much, Deshaun Watson hasn’t said much. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney on Monday said more than anyone connected to Watson has said about his current legal issues.
“We are disappointed to see his name in the news and all that is going on,” Swinney said after a practice on Monday, via TheClemsonInsider.com. “Look, I love Deshaun Watson. He is like a son to me. That is how I love him. As far as all the legal stuff and all of that, that will all take its course and all of that stuff. We certainly can’t speculate or comment on any of that stuff.
“But all I can tell you is that I have known Deshaun since he was in the ninth grade. And that he has been nothing but exemplary in every area that I have ever known him in. Three years here, as a player, I think I had a chance to yell at him one time because he was five minutes late to a team meeting that he overslept for. And that is it. That is the Deshaun I know. I can only base my thought on my experiences with him, which have been wonderful. Again, I love him like a son and we will just have to see where everything else goes from there.”
We’d expect Swinney to say nothing different about Deshaun. Indeed, a week ago, Watson would have been near the top of the list of NFL players least likely to be involved in any type of off-field issues.
But there are simply too many allegations at this point to rely on past reputation or a history of good manners. These are serious allegations that require a full and complete investigation. The fact that the list of plaintiffs has reached 14 and keeps expanding makes that even more important.
If Watson is blameless, the situation requires a much more aggressive P.R. push than what we’ve seen over the past six days. Common sense suggests that those who are falsely accused shout their innocence from the rooftops.
The counter to this comes from the reality that anything Watson says can and will be used against him, in civil court or possibly in criminal proceedings. Still, silence isn’t helping his cause in the court of public opinion. At this point, Watson quite possibly has lost that battle by default.