Judge Robinson rejected Deshaun Watson’s categorical denial of the allegations against him

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The full, 15-page decision in the Deshaun Watson case has been released. You can read it here.

And you should. It’s largely devoid of legalese and other jargon. But if you can’t or won’t read it (or if you did and you want our take on it), we’ll be posting several items regarding what it means, and where things may go from here.

For starters, one thing that seemed very significant is that Judge Robinson concluded, in the most tactful way possible, that Watson didn’t tell the truth when testifying. As noted at page 7, Watson declined to concede that he developed erections during massages, or that he inadvertently touched therapists with his penis. Judge Robinson wrote that he “categorically denied the allegations against him, including that he ever developed an erection during a massage.”

Then there’s this extremely important sentence: “It is difficult to give weight to a complete denial when weighed against the credible testimony of the investigators who interviewed the therapists and other third parties.”

In other words, Judge Robinson doesn’t believe him. She doesn’t believe him because the accounts from the accusers were, as explained in footnote 25 on page seven, “substantially corroborated” by “contemporaneous text messages and discussions with third parties after their interactions with Mr. Watson.” Also, as mentioned in footnote 26 on that same page, “some massage therapists who publicly supported Mr. Watson stated that he had become erect during sessions with them.”

This becomes critical to a potential appeal because the facts, as determined by Judge Robinson, become binding on both sides if/when the Commissioner or his designee are considering the ultimate punishment. Although Judge Robinson stopped short of being as blunt and candid as she could have been, the Commissioner could declare in the final written decision that Watson lied while testifying when he denied any wrongdoing and made the broad claim that he never had an erection during a massage.

Thus, even though the outcome was better for Watson than many had expected, the factual findings made by Judge Robinson could give the Commissioner everything he needs to justify a stronger suspension. Indeed, Judge Robinson affirmatively found by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not)  that Watson engaged in non-violent sexual assault, that his conduct endangered the safety and well-being of another person, and that his behavior undermined or put at risk the integrity of the NFL.

Those factual findings could ultimately fuel an outcome on appeal that Watson and the NFLPA won’t like, at all.

35 responses to “Judge Robinson rejected Deshaun Watson’s categorical denial of the allegations against him

  1. the judge found he committed sexual assault, and yet somehow didnt ban him for life from the NFL. He is a serial abuser and should never play a down of football again.

  2. So basically you’re better off on being a serial abuser than betting on your own team to win games. Makes a ton of sense NFL!

  3. I’m really tired of hearing of Mr Watson and Mr Johnson. I’m ready for a new season of NFL football.

  4. The fact the league is making him only get massages from the team shows his guilt and without that he would continue preying on women in the future

  5. How Vick and Watson were/are allowed the privilege of playing in the NFL to collect millions, is simply outrageous.

  6. “Judge Robinson affirmatively found by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not) that Watson engaged in non-violent sexual assault”
    _____________

    So much for those claiming that Watson did not commit sexual assault.

  7. Read the report, the judge also takes into account “paid restitution” and thr 1 year of not playing. This issue should now be considered closed.

  8. So she didn’t believe him but gave him six games, or about one quarter per victim.
    Mystifying what would have happened if she thought he was being truthful even once or twice…

  9. I like the part where she laughs at the idea the NFL is forward looking. Something tells me the Judge is going to get herself Goodelled out of her role as well.

  10. Watson is a lowlife and I will root against him on every down he plays and against his team in every game.

  11. So, to those upset with the ruling, can you explain with which part of the ruling it is you disagree? The judge explained why the suspension was only 6 games. Why is her reasoning incorrect?

  12. Lying to investigators is perfect cover for the league to increase the punishment and makes a legal appeal far more difficult for Watson and his team.

  13. As Kramer said, “Maybe uh, it needed some air. You know sometimes they need air, they can’t breathe in there. It’s inhuman.”

  14. Browns don’t look so stupid now. (So refresh my mind. How many games did Zeke get suspended for again?)

  15. So when will the Houston District Attorney’s office be reopening the investigation?

  16. If the league does not step up and do more will justify all who believe the NFL cares less about views of fans.

  17. Well. We are all used the the rich owners getting passes. I guess rich players should too.

  18. Well, no one but the willfully ignorant would believe him. Maybe if it was only a few accusers, you could reasonably give him a little benefit…but not 24. Doesn’t matter how good he plays, he will be forever be defined by this. Just ask Michael Vick if people ever forget.

  19. Those aren’t facts. They are the judges opinion. A fact would be that Robert Kraft was on video doing this.

  20. ‘Non-violent sexual assault” is the kind of word soup that make the discussion of this a huge mess.

  21. This is an embarrassment to anyone who believes the women. Watson used his fame and station to take advantage and assault these women, he at a minimum should be suspended for this year. Rodger needs to grow a pair and do the right thing, that is if he is capable of that.

  22. Doesn’t matter. People will look the other way if they help the team win. No one in the league has any integrity. Not one owner or coach. The pats took Aaron Hernandez.

  23. a slap on the wrist in my opinion, expecting at least 8. Money talks loud and clear!

  24. At least he’s a good cultural fit for the Browns and the fine upstanding community in Cleveland.

  25. Perhaps Robinson and Haslam have differing observations because they are different persons who have had different interactions with Watson? And perhaps they have different standards – one personal and the other legal?

  26. Very well then – justice was served. By a female judge nonetheless. Now let’s play ball!

  27. So in laymen’s terms she believes a serial sexual abuser should get suspended for 6 games with no fine.

  28. I hope the Browns/Watson era is an absolute disaster. The Browns deserve nothing less for making this deal. They should be ashamed of themselves for associating the organization with someone with this much of a dark cloud hovering overhead. The Haslams are terrible owners and Browns fans deserve better. Shame.

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