NFL silent on criminal complaint against Deshaun Watson

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The controversy surrounding Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson fundamentally changed on Friday, when someone filed a criminal complaint with the Houston Police Department.

Regardless of what happens with the criminal investigation, a criminal investigation now exists. With one person making a criminal complaint, more could follow.

It’s unclear whether the person who filed the complaint is one of the 21 persons who have sued Watson. Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all of the plaintiffs who have filed suit, recently said he won’t provide evidence to the Houston Police Department. Regardless, the activation of the criminal process takes the entire controversy to a different place, one that in theory could result in Watson losing more than money and/or a portion of his playing career.

Before Watson faces a conviction and potential incarceration, a prosecutor would have to decide to pursue charges. Most prosecutors avoid filing formal charges unless they believe that they can satisfy the very high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Still, it eventually will be up to the prosecutor, and if the prosecutor: (1) believes the complainant tells a compelling and credible case; and (2) assumes Watson will exercise his Fifth Amendment right to not testify, the prosecutor could decide to roll the dice on getting a jury that completely believes the accuser.

The mere existence of criminal complaint will become a factor in the NFL’s handling of Watson. The league office did not respond to a Saturday morning email requesting comment on the filing of criminal complaint against Watson. A follow-up has been sent.

While something along the lines of “no comment” should be expected, silence doesn’t seem to be a viable strategy as the offseason continues to unfold. One of the best players in the NFL has now had a criminal complaint filed against him, on the heels of the filing of 21 sexual assault civil lawsuits.

With the draft happening in less than four weeks and workout programs due to commence later this month, the clock will be ticking toward the NFL having something more substantive than to say nothing at all — especially if, as it appears, there won’t be an effort to bring his accusers together for a mediation sessions aimed at resolving these issues in a way that makes everyone believe they’ve been heard and have received a fair and satisfactory outcome.

Watson’s intention to stay away from the Texans while he waits for a potential trade reduces some of the pressure on the league to act. With Watson apparently planning to be absent from the offseason program, the league won’t have to tell him to stay away. With Watson apparently unwilling to show up for training camp, the league can also choose to do nothing.

For Watson, the question becomes whether he believes he’ll land on the Commissioner Exempt list. If so, he can show up and then be placed on paid leave and receive his full salary for as long as the league keeps him in that status. If he doesn’t show up, he gets nothing — and he risks forfeitures and fines that will exceed the $10 million he’s due to earn in 2021 salary.

39 responses to “NFL silent on criminal complaint against Deshaun Watson

  1. He would be smart to show up to OTAs and or camp because if he goes on the exempt list without doing so he won’t get squat, if he does he still gets millions to pay those legal bills and any payoffs with.

  2. If the Jets or Dolphins were involved in trade talks earlier and either still wants him, expect a classic Goodell cover up here.

    It’s all about Goodell here and the money. A cover up could be underway for all we know.

  3. Silent probably because there IS no charge yet? Just a complaint filed. Last I heard anyway – he hasn’t been “charged” with anything yet.

  4. lindah says:

    April 4, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Silent probably because there IS no charge yet? Just a complaint filed. Last I heard anyway – he hasn’t been “charged” with anything yet.
    It makes no difference whether or not a charge has been filed. As has been pointed out many times, the NFL legal system and the US legal system are not the same.

  5. This charge was filed on a Friday which happened to be a religious holiday and it is now only Sunday, and also another religious holiday. Surely we can give the NFL some time to make an announcement.

  6. I am pretty sure Watson isn’t even worth a straight up trade for the Doug Peterson with Foles statue.

  7. The big $$$ does not kick in until the games begin. By that time I doubt he will be playing and will lose paychecks.

  8. I think when the dust settles, we are going to learn that Deshaun is one twisted guy. He has taken his last snap in the NFL.

  9. NFL will wait and also do their own investigation. They don’t need to make a decision on suspension yet because it’s still early in the offseason.

    But that’s probably not good news for the Texans if this is drawn out. It’s a distraction. And they can’t really trade him with any value while this is ongoing.

  10. I don’t think there’s going to be anything criminal found here. Legislating morals is popular with some of us. Some things that are legal in some states, aren’t legal in others. Prostitution laws, pot laws, gambling, alcohol regulation. These things vary from state to state. It’s big government regulations. Everybody likes it as long as it’s on their terms. Hates it when they don’t share the same moral compass. Kind of like everyone wants to play God with other people’s lives. Then they claim they don’t like big government. We love telling others what to do. We hate it when they tell us what we can and can’t do. But we wave the flag and claim to love freedom. Yeah. Right.

  11. Whatever the NFL does, it won’t have any relation to what happens in the legal, criminal justice system.
    The NFL, or more accurately, Goodell, does whatever arbitrary thing pops into his head.

  12. collectordude says:
    April 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm
    Career over.
    Least it should be.
    A fundamental tenant of the American justice system is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In the court of public opinion the case for and against Watson can be made, but until this goes through the actual Court, judgement should be reserved.

  13. Anything they would say at this point would be premature. First of all the case is extremely sketchy on facts. No evidence has been presented that would make Watson guilty. The NFL doesn’t want to say anything that they would have to backtrack on later. Its logic 101

  14. Houston Texan fans, you have my sympathies. I admire any fan who sticks with their team thru thick and thin. It’s a tough time for you folks but there is next to nothing that cant be fixed thru winning, when it comes to football.

    If Watson turns out to be everything that is being alleged, then get a new QB and go win some games….except against the Patriots.

  15. It’s beginning to look like Watson was right…..he won’t be playing for the Texans this season. He may not be playing for anyone but the prison league.

  16. The NFL is too busy figuring out what social cause they need to address next. And what city to pull what from.

  17. From everything I’ve read or heard the only thing Watson has done is shown his willie while getting a massage. He never assaulted anyone and many of the massage sessions carried on even after Watsons weird actions. The gal that went to SI with her story is the only one that is not a part of this character assault money grab. I bet Michael Rappaport roots for the Texans.

  18. I wonder how silent they would be if his name was Jimmy Garoppolo?

    Just asking…..

  19. If the NFL were to actually be sat down and their disciplinary actions were looked at one after the other for things that were off the field I think it would be startling to examine. They do essentially what they like, when they like, and answer questions on their process to arrive at those decisions, when they like. Consistency is a word that is NOT in the 21st century NFL dictionary. A word in bold print is reactionary though. Their judgment often seems dovetailed to the amount of bad press a story receives, not necessarily the infraction itself. With this kindve unknown standard that will be invoked at their sole discretion it leaves the question open of if, or when they will do, or not do anything at all. So is their inaction surprising? Not at all. If they explained why they did or didn’t do anything, that would be news worthy.

  20. I’m not tagging the writer of the post. And this jus ust my opinion.
    But this isn’t about some shifting morals compass in the country. This isn’t about cancel culture, not about what substances are legal or not, this isn’t about right or left. This is about in a criminal sense if a law on the books was broken. In a civil sense it’s whether he is believed to have acted appropriately in a broader sense and if not it will effect his wallet and reputation and employment opportunities going forward. And lastly in the court of public opinion it’s whether we each individually believe this man and his version of these events or not. It’s a big story with lots of press and lots of attention. But that doesn’t make this a weathervane on everything that’s going on in the country that’s way to simplistic so making it seem so doesn’t make any sense.

  21. Well this changes everything because now his very freedom is on the line. Unreal.

  22. Or some things are just to big for even the NFL to get involved with. It’s not a one on one incident, it’s 21 vs 1 and a business meddling in something that large probably isn’t the wisest move on their part. They don’t want to pick the wrong side and pay for it later. Bet they wait to see what happens in the courts.

  23. If the NFL is smart, and that is assuming a lot, they will say and do nothing until the investigation is done and complete. To often they act and then look foolish. To me it looks like there is to much smoke not to be a fire but what the heck do I know? Now, if there is an out of court settlement than they can act!!

  24. Would you expect anything else after Allowing Brown to continue to play after throwing a bicycle at a security guard

  25. The NFL has a pro football league they’re trying to run, and I don’t think they’re pre-occupied with the day to day changes that seem to be happening with these allegations against Watson. It would almost be a full time job if they were expected to have a comment every time something happens. If they need to say something, they’re more than capable.

  26. Watson is innocent until proven guilty. Hope the Texans aren’t waging a smear campaign against Watson because he wants to be traded. Per Attorney Buzbee there are 21 civil suits and counting. Where are the other 20? It’s suspicious this lawyer has been determined to use the media to drum up support and try these allegations in the court of public opinion. He has lied and withheld information from the police without fear of prosecution. Buzbee needs to be investigated. If this complaint is untrue, Watson needs to sue the accuser(s) and Buzbee. Destroying a person’s life and livelihood is unacceptable. These scams need to stop.

  27. He will be forced to sit out a year or two and then the Ravens or WFT will pick him up.

  28. truthreigns says:
    April 4, 2021 at 11:32 pm
    Watson is innocent until proven guilty.


    So was Ezekiel Elliott

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