National Organization for Women blasts NFL for Deshaun Watson suspension

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The NFL’s decision on whether to appeal the Deshaun Watson suspension and the eventual resolution of any appeal necessarily will be influenced by public opinion, because the entire Personal Conduct Policy is a P.R. tool. And so, as the league gauges public reaction, comments from organizations like the National Organization for Women will resonate.

“It is unacceptable, insulting, and dangerous — but not surprising — that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will face merely a 6-game suspension — with no fines — following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made by more than two dozen women,” NOW said in a statement issued on Monday.

This paragraph illustrates one of the common misconceptions about the suspension. It arises from evidence based on four accusers, not 24 or more. Judge Robinson gave no consideration to the existence of the civil lawsuits, even when considering aggravating and mitigating factors. In the court of public opinion, that evidence can’t and won’t be excluded.

“The NFL and the multi-billion-dollar sports industry have a vested interest in enabling sexual misconduct, assault, and violence,” the statement says. “They even wrote it into Deshaun Watson’s $230 million contract! The Browns knew that their star recruit would be suspended for at least part of this year’s season because of his record of sex offenses, and so they restructured his contract to make the majority of his $46 million first-year payout a ‘signing bonus,’ not tied to him playing actual games.”

Although Watson may have indeed wanted the structure to minimize his financial losses, it’s common for major player contracts to include a low base salary in the first year, for cap reasons.

“The NFL has had a violence against women problem for years — and everyone knows it,” the statement declares. “NOW was outspoken over the mishandling of the 2014 domestic violence case against Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has failed since then to find a consistent, independent, and trustworthy means of addressing the scourge of violence against women — and bringing abusers to justice.”

This ignores the six-game domestic-violence punishment imposed in 2017 on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was never arrested, charged, or even sued. Also, it overlooks the fact that Goodell still has not directly weighed in on Watson. That will come on appeal, if/when (when) there is one.

“Deshaun Watson must not be allowed to profit from his horrific behavior, and the NFL must change its business model that allows, enables, and hides sexual misconduct into one that respects women and holds abusers accountable,” the statement concludes. “Shame on the Cleveland Browns for rewarding Deshaun Watson and shame on the NFL for perpetuating a system where money talks, and women aren’t heard.”

Again, this isn’t over yet. Given that Judge Robinson found that Watson did what he was accused of doing, an appeal becomes more likely. A longer suspension becomes more likely, too, as public pressure continues to mount.

51 responses to “National Organization for Women blasts NFL for Deshaun Watson suspension

  1. You can’t blame them. If I was a female in this country, I wouldn’t feel like I was treated equally.

    It’s embarrassing at this stage.

  2. The NFL has to punish Watson based on all of the 24 accusations and/or civil lawsuits. It set that precedent when it suspended Zeke 6 games for baseless accusations from a bitter ex girlfriend who provided no evidence. In Watson’s case, it was 20+ different women. This is a no brainer unless Goodell wants to shoot himself in the foot. Again.

  3. They should blame the female DA for not indicting and the female judge for the suspension ruling.

  4. The personal conduct policy isn’t about achieving social justice, it’s only about protecting the interest of the NFL. They should take issue with the Texas DA instead.

  5. No worries. Roger Goodell who is the head of the NFL dictatorship will appeal the Decision of the Judge and do whatever he wants in his kangaroo Court.
    Nobody expected Goodell to accept the judge’s decision if it didn’t favor their position.
    A Right or Wrong decision the system in place is highly flawed.

  6. They may have it wrong on the structure, but they did add language protecting the guarantees and having to return some of the signing bonus if (when) he was suspended for all these actions.

  7. There was no misconception on NOWs part. They werent addressing the Judge with the specifics of the “trial” – they were addressing the NFL with respect to the accusers.

  8. The NFL needs to get out of the punishment game, altogether. If the COURT OF LAW says you’re not charged, then that’s the end of it. If you are charged AND CONVICTED, then you’re suspended.

    They can’t get right this “protecting the shield” ridiculousness.

    The NFL would save itself a LOT of heartburn if it just stuck with that.

  9. NFL office will tack on another 2-4 games, plus a 1m+ fine — enough to assuage the outcry (they think), but enough that Watson and Co. can’t or won’t kick, because both parties just wants it to be over.

  10. The NFL didn’t decide on 6 games, Robinson did. And going forth any appeal will have to pass the inevitable muster in federal court. Right or wrong, he has a constitutional right to due process and equal protection under the law. You can look it up.

  11. I am really curious to see if the NFL will just bury their head in the sand and hope this all dies down. I guess their intentions will in some way be revealed if the try to extend their appeal deadline.

  12. Strange, but where have you (NOW) been all along during this? Had you been more vocal and outraged from the beginning it’s likely no team would have signed him. Your silence was deafening.

  13. If a Fortune 500-caliber company was interviewing a top sales and marketing candidate and learned the applicant had twenty-four outstanding parking tickets, that person would not be hired on character issues alone. This is disgraceful.

  14. The fact the NFL couldnt be bothered to make their case based on all of the accusations to judge robinson IS THE PROBLEM. For the 4 they did make the case about he deserves more than 6 games, but that still left 20 others that the league refused to even evaluate. This is a massive stain on the NFL. The only way out of this is to ban him for life.

  15. Again, this works in Goodell’s favor. The *league* can now appeal and impose a slightly greater punishment to look like they’re on the side of the victims. If the judge had gone with, say, 12 games this group would issue the exact same statement, but Goodell would be less likely to increase it.

  16. See this has always been my issue with the NFL and other sports leagues interjecting themselves in the legal process. These groups like the National Organization of Women if they are mad should be mad at the real LEGAL process that failed to indict or convict Watson.

    The NFL is not a legal entity and thus they are putting a target on their own back by going around the legal system. It would be in all the best interests of these leagues to say we only deal with players off the field behavior when there is criminal action taken against them and if you have an issue with the player not being indicted or found guilty then talk to the local prosecutors and/or jury/grand jury as to why they didn’t indict or find the person guilty. Some are trying to use the NFL and these other sports leagues to dish out supposed “justice” the real legal system says is not necessary which isn’t fair in my opinion.

  17. Would love to know why the league only presented 4 cases as opposed to all 24. Was it because they were lazy? Was it because the other 20 cases were really weak?

    They won’t tell us, so all we can do is speculate and assume the worst.

  18. What will his defenders say when this happens again. And it will. Predators like this don’t just stop

  19. Bottom line on all this is he was found to have done some things and is being punished. Time to move on…

  20. Not the NFL’s fault. Why negotiate an arbitrator to handle misconduct hearings if you arent going to abide by the ruling. Don’t like the outcome? Change the process again. Have mandatory minimums for certain offenses. As this case goes, its time to move on to the important work of throwing TD passes and winning Super Bowls. Move on.

  21. I sort of feel like Goodell is going to come back with a full season suspension and then see if they appeal, which they probably will…

  22. If his name wasn’t Deshaun Watson he would have been cut long ago and no longer playing in the NFL. Don’t tell me it doesn’t make a different who you are when it comes to justice in the NFL world.

  23. No way NFL wants to change the decision as they have too many skeletons in its ownership closet. I’m surprised no one here wants to know more about the Texans role in this situation. I believe the Texans perpetuated a lot of this as a payback for Watson wanting to leave. If Watson would have changed his insistence on leaving, we wouldn’t have seen this situation.

    After all, why would the Texans be settling? Perhaps there’s more collusion in this than we know.

  24. Well now they are saying Deshaun passed a lie detector test and the females all refused to take one. So if anything, the females are the ones that should be getting bashed. No wonder grand jury didn’t indict!

  25. kcoun says:
    August 2, 2022 at 10:08 am
    The NFL didn’t decide on 6 games, Robinson did. And going forth any appeal will have to pass the inevitable muster in federal court. Right or wrong, he has a constitutional right to due process and equal protection under the law. You can look it up.

    There are no appeal rights in this case to federal or any other court. This is a process occuring under the CBA.

  26. minime says:
    August 2, 2022 at 10:30 am
    NFL will cave to their outrage.


    I hope that they do…not just for the NOW, but for ALL women. It would be the right thing to do.

  27. Barring a lifetime ban from the NFL, no suspension would have been enough to satisfy the thirst for punishment in this case. Is a lifetime ban warranted in a case where criminally, the two grand juries declined to prosecute?

  28. I wonder if this has all be orchestrated by the NFL in order to minimize the suspension? Why only present 5 of 24 accusers? The judge says Watson is a predator involved in sexual assault. My guess is that Haslam checked with the front office and made sure the suspension would be one season, max. But by not making a strong case, the NFL has guaranteed a lighter sentence.

    Will Goodell just throw up his hands and say “what more can I do?” – at the behest of the owners, of course.

  29. Zeke got screwed. I realize it was a long time ago at this point, but nonetheless, that 6 game suspension was bologna.

  30. Jarran Reed assaulted his girlfriend.. insufficient evidence to be formally charged… still got 6 games.

    Watson gets the same sentence.. with how many accusers?

    Not a good look for the NFL.

  31. Well, they’re not wrong. This decision makes a mockery of the NFL’s outreach to women. How do you only suspend Watson for 6 games after 24 sexual abuse allegations and still try to market yourself as female-friendly?

  32. Is this the outcome the NFL wanted when they included just 4 accusors in this case? Does that mean, if 24 are included, the suspension would be 36 games? That’s more like it!

  33. Funny how a bunch of women keep siding with Watson. The women that actually have a say in what happens to him.

    Again no proof, what are they supposed to do? I don’t care if there is 3,000 women that come forward. Proof decides guilt, not here say. That’s our country and I for one believe in it until something better comes along.

  34. 6 games is a joke and no fine is an embarrassment. the scumbag browns structured his contract to absorb missed game checks this year. he still gets rewarded with the most guarenteed money ever.

  35. stellarperformance says:
    August 2, 2022 at 10:16 am

    If a Fortune 500-caliber company was interviewing a top sales and marketing candidate and learned the applicant had twenty-four outstanding parking tickets, that person would not be hired on character issues alone. This is disgraceful.

    Don’t be fooled. If that same fortune 500 company had that person already on staff who created a crazy amount of revenue, they would overlook those parking tickets.

    You must be referring to the NFL combine where folks are scrutinized more than any Fortune 500 company out there.

  36. I’d like to know where is their statement on Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and Robert Kraft.

    These owners names were not dragged the the court of public opinion like Watson. If you are who you say you are then you would provide a statement with the same fever as the one you gave on Deshaun Watson.

  37. This is a tough one.

    If 24 women had independently come forward to accuse Watson of sexual assault, that would be very powerful, but htat is not the case.

    In this case, we have a lawyer, Buzbee, that basically advertised for women to come forward with the promise of money. The accusations aren’t as impactful in that case.

    I still think that Watson is creepy and even if what he did isn’t illegal, it sure is immoral. The NFL wants the situation to go away. It’s bad for business. Now that so many people are complaining that 6 weeks isn’t enough, expect Goodell to raise that to 12-14 games.

  38. I guess it will take twenty years to hear from the women that work for all the NFL teams and league office. Maybe someone will listen then.

  39. Didn’t like the truth? NOW is a joke defending a bunch of GOLD DIGGERS Funny how they came out of the woodwork when the lawyer advertised for them. Justice for Watson

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