Deshaun Watson wants to “clear my name,” but it’s probably far too late for that

Deshaun Watson Press Conference
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When meeting with reporters for the first time since March 25, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was asked whether he will settle the 26 (and possibly counting) cases pending against him. He said, “I just want to clear my name,” and that he plans to do so through the legal process.

As a practical matter, it’s too late for that. His only chance at this point would be to stumble over evidence showing that it really was and is one giant conspiracy involving a still-growing collection of frivolous claims bundled together to shake him down for a major cash payment. Given that no evidence of such a ruse has emerged to date (months after 18 of the plaintiffs agreed to take $100,000 in settlement of their claims but the deals fell apart because four refused), the chances are at this point that it won’t.

Some would say that Watson can clear his name by winning every single trial of every single case. Beyond the fact that winning 26 (or more) trials will be roughly the same as winning 26 (or more) coin tosses, the trials will consist of testimony and other evidence being provided in open court, over and over and over again. For those who already believe based on the sheer volume of the claims that he’s more predator than prey, 26 (or more) trials won’t erase that — even if the jury sides with him every single time.

There are just too many of these claims, and it’s lasted for far too long. Many compare Watson’s situation to the off-field issues that engulfed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2010. However, he faced only two claims, not 26 (or more). He was suspended, he served his time, he took the Steelers to the Super Bowl that season, the off-field situations resulted in no trials or other lingering entanglements, and within a year or two it was basically forgotten. By the time he retired, some Steelers fans bristled at even the mention of the fact that it occurred.

For Watson, it’s too late. He had a chance to prevent lasting damage from being done in early 2021, but his representatives refused to engage in negotiations after the first plaintiff requested $100,000 before filing suit. (An opener of $100,000 hints strongly at final settlement in the range of $50,000 to $75,000.) They refused to make an offer in response, which pissed off attorney Tony Buzbee. That sparked an avalanche of claims that may have never been filed if Watson had simply settled the first case and ended it.

Then, all pending cases were poised to settle in April 2021. The talks broke down over the question of whether the settlements would include nondisclosure agreements. Buzbee and his clients wanted one; Watson and attorney Rusty Hardin didn’t, presumably so that they could let everyone know that the cases were settled for a payment in the range of peanuts.

Apart from the fact that it will now be much more expensive to settle the cases, the situation has generated headline after headline after headline, few of which have been good for Watson. In the 22 days since HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel televised a feature focusing on the situation, it’s gone straight downhill for Watson in the court of public opinion.

Even if he settles all of the cases today, too many things have happened. Too much time has passed. Too many cases have been filed. There’s no way to turn the clock back to March 2021.

23 responses to “Deshaun Watson wants to “clear my name,” but it’s probably far too late for that

  1. I wonder if he just realized that after reading all the comments on Yesterdays post about him clearing his name?

  2. How much of this will end up effecting the roster? If you are a great player who can shop his talent why would you even consider staying here? This team could be waiting for its QB that it put a lot of cap dollars into for 3 more years. That is all the prime even a lot of HOF players get.

  3. It’s looking more possible every day that Deshaun Watson may have played his last down in the NFL. Nice due diligence, Browns.

  4. For the rest of history… when people hear Deshaun Watson they are going to think of a creepy sexual predator

  5. He needs a minimum 2 year suspension and only allowed to play again after he seeks help and shows true remorse. It is apoling if he truly believes he did nothing wrong

  6. Imagine having to explain 26 occasions why your towel couldn’t stay in place across your groin area.

    He may be an NFL quarterback, but he is also really, really stupid.

  7. Nick Caserio fleeced these fools.

    The entire city of Cleveland deserves an apology from Haslam and the front office for this embarrassing debacle. How do you trade 3 future 1sts and then guarantee $230 million to a QB who won 4 games the last year he stepped on a field and now may never play again?

  8. Clear his name? He’s still going to be lucky if he can avoid prison. If somebody ever comes up with a recording it’s all going to be over for him. And imagine when incidents since he was traded start coming up because compulsions of this magnitude don’t just go away. There’s bound to be more stories coming.

  9. There is no way to clear his name. Every single person knows you don’t hire 66+ masseuses to just get your body massaged.

  10. I think everyone forgets what Big Ben did.
    And he finished up with a long fruitful career.

  11. From now on,when people hear the name DeShaun Watson,they will no longer think football. They will think of this scandal.There is no chance of clearing his name.

  12. If he kept his hands to himself he wouldn’t have anything to worry about

  13. If he produces, and the Browns make the playoffs, many people will forget and he’ll redeem himself.
    I wonder how this will impact his endorsement money though.

  14. Done like dinner and whenever was this guy anyways an on the field winner …. it will be quite something if Goodell finagles some way to please an equally creepy owner in Cleveland n make this all go away …. even if Watson eventually crumbles n tries to pay his way out of this.

  15. The Browns endured 20 years of no quarterback and coach only to finally appear to be moving in the right direction. Then they pull the most Browns thing ever with this guaranteed contract. What were they thinking?

  16. Americans have very short memories. If, Watson and his legal team can get these lawsuits settled and that is a big if with his current lawyers, give it a couple of years and it will all blow over.

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