When will the NFL take action regarding Deshaun Watson?

NFL: DEC 13 Texans at Bears
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One week ago today, the football world watched and waited for a decision to be made by a Houston grand jury as to whether Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be charged with any crimes. Eventually, word emerged that he’ll face no criminal jeopardy. That opened the floodgates for interested teams to pursue Watson.

The land rush has pushed the 22 civil lawsuits far into the background, even as Watson testified in two of them this week. Teams that view Watson as a 10-year answer at the most important position in football seem to be willing to accept the short-term entanglements in order to achieve the long-term objective of having a franchise quarterback.

Should they be? Watson is accused of sexual misconduct not by one person but by 22. If it were only one, it would be easier to gloss over the process that may or may not result in a finding of legal responsibility. At some point, the number of plaintiffs reached a critical mass. That number falls somewhere between one and 22.

For the league, that’s the problem. There are 22 people who accuse Watson of wrongdoing. So what will the league do, and when will the league do it?

On one hand, the league has learned from its past mistakes to wait to make decisions regarding player discipline until the last possible moment. In Watson’s case, that could mean waiting for the 22 civil cases to be resolved.

The Dolphins wanted all of the cases to be settled before it would trade for Watson last year. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Dolphins believed that a settlement would result in a six-game suspension imposed by the league.

What if Watson doesn’t settle? What if he digs in and fights? What if he ultimately wins? With no criminal charges and 22 verdicts in his favor, Watson would be able to say that he has done nothing wrong. What would the league be suspending him for?

The league could say that the underlying behaviors require intervention. Watson’s lawyer previously admitted that these massage-therapy sessions at times became voluntary sexual encounters. Even if Watson is deemed to have never violated the rights of the massage therapists who have sued him, the league may have serious and justifiable concerns about players lining up massages through social media with a wish or a plan that they will become something more than that.

The question for now is whether the league will move now or wait. As one source with knowledge of the general dynamics that apply in these situations explained things, it will be difficult to ignore and/or dismiss 22 different plaintiffs. There’s a belief that, when Watson finally prepares to play again, he possibly won’t be permitted to do so until the cases are resolved, whether by settlement, dismissal, or verdict.

With the Saints and Falcons in a final tug-of-war for Watson, how much do the teams know or care about what’s coming? Do they fear paid leave? An unpaid suspension? Backlash in their local communities for embracing Watson?

It’s easy to think that they don’t care, not as much as they could. The pursuit of Watson has given rise to a competition. An urgency. And just as it does during football season, the desire to win can cause plenty of things that otherwise would be troubling to be seen as far less troublesome than they should be.

29 responses to “When will the NFL take action regarding Deshaun Watson?

  1. They’ll take action if and when it’s been determined that Watson did something wrong. So far, that hasn’t been the case.

  2. Why would he settle? Then or now. He obviously knew there was either no evidence or he didn’t do anything wrong.

    Local law enforcement couldn’t press charges and a grand jury couldn’t press charges. He holds the cards and if he is the scumbag this situation I suggests he is Shane on him. If it didn’t happen and I were him I’d be suing a lot of people for ruining his image.

  3. Listen as a franchise if I have to go without Watson for any amount of time due to a possible suspension I DON’T CARE. You know how many teams go through GM’s and Coaches for Years into decades trying to find that franchise guy or replace one who was a Legend.
    The team getting Deshaun should consider themselves very LUCKY like winning the LOTTERY, Because stuff like this could only happen due to a falling out with that player and his team.

  4. Never.

    It’s all about money, as we know, even if we don’t read Playmakers. Watson will not be prosecuted, the cover up in the Texas legal system is underway, people have all been paid off, and Watson on a tv screen in a new uniform, whether he succeeds or fails, his huge rating$ dollars for Goodell and his cheating owners outside of NE.

  5. What action ??? He was not found guilty of anything other then making poor choices. Why is the media trying to push a narrative because year opinion is that the NFL should fo something. Well it’s not the decision of the media to determine the outcome. People get convicted more in the media then an actual judge or court. Pretty dad actually

  6. Watson has done something to crap on the shield by getting into a PR mess, if he is guilty, not-guilty, settles or wins the civil case the only thing that actually matters going forward is if Watson ends up on one of Roger’s protected teams like KC/Pittsburgh. On a protected team if any maybe a 1 game suspension, if he ends up a not-protected team expect 6 games to a year.

  7. Having your work tied to what you do off the clock is going to have dire consequences long term for society.

  8. Never. There’s no action to take IMO. He already served what was essentially a years suspension for being falsely accused.

  9. The NFL does not need to implement a criminal justice system parallel to the ACTUAL criminal justice system that exists. That system has spoken and said that he will not be charged with anything. That should be the end of it. The lawsuits are civil and should be handled privately.

  10. Why would a team want a guy to be the face of their franchise who demonstrates this type of character? It’s not like he’s won multiple titles so you can maybe overlook this MASSIVE character flaw. No thanks

  11. To hinglemeeringleberry:

    I remind you that Rothlisberger and E. Elliott were BOTH suspended for multiple games (6 in both cases, and I think Ben’ was reduced) and neither was charged criminally. And what Watson is accused of is far far far more egregious than what either of them was accused of. Having said that, I suspect Watson will not miss a game due to suspension. Cause the NFL is so out of kelter and uneven in application of its punishments. See Washington Commanders for refence when compared to other punishments.

  12. Each one of these women is somebody’s daughter or sister or mother and deserves to be treated with respect by her massage therapy clients. Six game suspensions for every plaintiff that wins in court or receives a settlement sounds fair enough to me.

  13. No matter how the civil suits pan out,precedent has already been set by the NFL on punishment due to these domestic issues. I’m betting on a 6-8 game suspension…which DeShaun will appeal(still being able to play during appeal). Perhaps, negotiate down to a 3-4 game suspension.

  14. If Zeke got 6 games for an unprosecuted allegation from a woman who recanted her story, then Watson should get a whole season for 22 unprosecuted allegations from woman who are not recanting.

  15. It’s a spectacle that multiple teams are tripping over themselves to offer Watson a contract given the circumstances of multiple pending law suits.

    Watson has been a terrific QB and used to be one of my favorites but this whole situation makes no sense. So if the Falcons were to sign him & trade Ryan (cause they cannot afford to keep both), what do they do for the first 4, 6, or multiple games while the lawsuits get resolved & the League decides what to do.

  16. There is not only this issue but don’t forget the fact he was dictating to management who should coach the team and who should be on it. These things will creep back to the next team you just watch.

  17. Precedent says 6 games minimum, but who knows. The NFL is so uneven with their discipline, it’s hard to tell. It honestly might depend on what team he chooses to be very transparent……seems that certain teams get lower punishment vs. others.

  18. So, since the criminal complaints were dismissed, all that is left are the civil suits, therefore he owes no “debt” to society? But what about the moral debt? Is that dismissed as well?

  19. Once he decides where he’s going, then they’ll know the penalty based on how much they want to screw the team and Watson…

  20. There is no action to be taken. This screed won’t change that simple fact.

  21. To heap more fuel on his singed image, on top of dictating where he goes, he wants a new contract!! He hasn’t won diddley!! He is a selfish brat, and teams should shy away from him. He quit on the Texans, and he will quit on the next team if it doesn’t do as he wants. And remember the old saying when it comes to all the accusations….where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  22. Crazy that the Browns said they want an adult at the QB position while pursing Watson

  23. Personally, I think if no criminal charges were filed (yes, possession and DWI are criminal charges) there should not be any league discipline. However, since the Falcons and Saints are in the same division, I supposes the answer depends on which team you like.

  24. I hope Saints resign Winston and Failcons resign Matty Melt. Will sweep Atlanta again and not have to deal with what will be a giant distration. Real pity that a few of these super talented atheletes make such bad decisions.

  25. Forget about the legal problems, he wants a new contract too?

    I hope the NFL gives him a very long suspension, just to send a message.

  26. The scum bag isn’t even that good. Typical garbage time qb who hasn’t won anything in the big league. So overated it’s laughable. Last year he played he lost multiple games on his own due to his boneheaded mistakes.

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