Deshaun Watson meets with reporters, declines to answer non-football questions

USA TODAY Sports

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson last met with reporters in August, just after news broke that he agreed to accept an 11-game suspension from the league, along with paying a $5 million fine. He fielded questions about the situation, and among other things he proclaimed his innocence.

Watson is now back. He began his first press conference by explaining that “with my legal team and my clinical team, there’s only football questions that I can address at this time.”

It’s odd for him to adopt that posture now, given that he previously had taken questions. However, given the reaction to his August press conference, it’s better to say nothing than to say something that could possibly make things worse.

He has said in the past that, eventually, he’ll present his side of the story. He was asked on Thursday about the possibility of doing so.

“At this time, I can’t address any of that stuff,” Watson said. “Who knows what the future holds? Right now, I’m locked in on being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”

If he didn’t refuse to answer non-football questions, he likely would have been asked whether, after going through league-mandated treatment and counseling, he now realizes the problems inherent to the behavior for which he was suspended. By drawing a bright line, he never has to go there.

Some may not like the approach, but he’s entitled to decline to answer questions. The league requires only that the player be available to the media once during the week and after each game. It does not require that the player actually provide responsive answers to the questions asked.

Of course, the approach could result in criticism of Watson, for not facing the music. For not showing real accountability. For not changing the narrative that, when he last spoke, included an insistence that he did nothing wrong.

It also could prompt others who may be thinking about filing a civil complaint to proceed. And it could make those who settled cases against Watson (and/or their lawyer) to sound off about Watson’s refusal to field questions.

54 responses to “Deshaun Watson meets with reporters, declines to answer non-football questions

  1. Not a Watson fan, but I don’t blame Watson for refusing to answer non-football questions. It would be a circus.

  2. Well yeah because his lawyer has told him to not talk. Whether you are guilty or innocent going public with your dispute is a sign of desperation.

  3. There’s never been a serial sexual predator that’s ever admitted to having a problem, because they don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong, so of course he’s not going to address it

  4. I’m sure his lawyers told him no good can come from answering those questions. Another accuser could come forward or others could decide to file a lawsuit. Why give ammo?

  5. All the women that accused him of sexual assault should wear #4 Browns jerseys with the name Predator on the back.

  6. Um Deshaun considering the league just suspended you 11 games for the assault allegations from 26 different women, I’d say it is very much a football issue.

  7. Don’t blame him? It’s a circus he created for himself, repeatedly, by abusing women through his position! Disgusting.

  8. What a coward. Always has been, always will be. No contrition, no acknowledgement of wrongdoing, just pretending nothing’s wrong and being massively enabled in doing so.

    It’s disgusting, NFL. You can look the other way, but we aren’t.

  9. On a football note, it’ll be interesting to see what type of play will result from nearly two years out of football. Plus the pressure of knowing that 99% of fans in every away stadium loathes him.

  10. I know you have to report on this but he is gross and pitiful and it is sad that this great NFL site has to waste space on him.

  11. Doesn’t matter what he says or doesn’t say, people already have their minds made up.

  12. LOL! With all that he allegedly did, so many women that sued him, so many cash settlements he paid, so many national headlines he created, you are damn right the media has the right to ask him questions!

  13. Florio is wrong on this on.,

    Watson is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t. True catch 22.

    If he says he now realizes, after extensive counseling, that his actions were inappropriate, he may encourage more lawsuits because of an apparent confession of guilt. If he did apologize for his actions, it would never be exactly what certain people want. Any indication of admitting he did something wrong is fraught with potential damaging legal consequences.

    His lawyers finally gave him good advice, just do not answer questions on this ever again. ( now about that settlement agreement, how in the heck did Rusty Hardin not have language preventing the paid off accusers and Buzby from in person protesting? )

  14. Watson made out like a bandit.
    He got a fat new massive contract and barely lost out on any money during his suspension.
    He lost less money then a player who is suspended for four games for marijuana.

  15. That’s to be expected but he’s never been great with the press and what happens when the football questions get tough? He has the biggest contract in history, hasn’t played in 2 years, and is on the Browns. Does anybody expect this to be a really smooth ride?

  16. I want this clown pounded into the ground by someone who can actually understand that many of DeeShawn’s victims are someone’s sister or niece. Once that gets through their heads, DeeShawn and the turf will become one.

  17. Yeah I agree, not talking about it now is good strategy.

    He already stated previously “I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take accountability for the decisions I made.”

    He is not the first 25yo with $250 mil in the bank to make a mistake.

  18. He can’t answer the questions cause part of the stipulations for coming back was to admit what you did wrong. He obviously lied to come back and doesn’t want to mess it up by speaking. Bum.

  19. Why is so hard for some people to understand? He has two lawsuits looming over him. Once they are over, he will answer all questions just like all the other players who have had problems do. This is not hard folks.

  20. I would say Cleveland fans deserve better, but I’ve read enough fan comments on baker and Watson. They deserve exactly what they get.

  21. Watson just wants to do his job without being harassed.

    Too bad he didn’t give that same courtesy to his massage therapists

  22. Some of you need to move outta your parent’s basement. This is not hard. He has pending CIVIL lawsuits (not criminal) and until they are over, you don’t comment on them. Ummmm, not hard to comprehend.

  23. He’s not going to say anything, nor should he, while there is a court case looming. You just don’t say anything that might be used against you. No matter how you feel about him, this is the right thing to do. He can offer his apologies, explanations, rationalisations, etc. after all the cases have been decided.

  24. guilty or innocent talking is the worst thing anyone can do …. you can only incriminate yourself … you cannot exonerate yourself by talking.

    in his case its to the press … to everyone else this applies to law enforcement … the reason they ask you questions is so that you incriminate yourself so that it can later be used against you.

  25. If I were Watson,… I wouldn’t answer them either. It’s a football presser,… not a political press conference.
    It doesn’t mean I like the guy,… personally I thought he should have been suspended for the entirety of the 2022 season without pay, and a huge fine donated to women’s shelters and well being.

  26. I hope fans in every city booing him loudly and often is a feature for the rest of his career. Absolute scumbag. I would be embarrassed (more than usual) to be a Browns fan today.

  27. cma1973 says:
    December 1, 2022 at 1:26 pm
    Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    lol a little late for that

  28. Tony Awesome says:

    December 1, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    If I were Watson,… I wouldn’t answer them either. It’s a football presser,… not a political press conference.
    It doesn’t mean I like the guy,… personally I thought he should have been suspended for the entirety of the 2022 season without pay, and a huge fine donated to women’s shelters and well being.
    ————-
    Actually it’s a pregame “presser” not a football “presser”. Meaning it happens before the game to generate interest in the game that week. Asking Watson about the charges and his responses generate interest which puts it in the purview of what should/could be asked.

  29. Watson doesn’t owe the media one damn answer about anything non-football related. His perverse habits have already been reported for over a year in the media. He was not charged with any crimes after review by 2 grand juries. He settled all but 1 of the lawsuits. The most recent lawsuit his attorneys essentially counter sued the plaintiffs attorney. The NFL investigated him and suspended him. It’s all but done with. America has already made up their mind about him. Lots of people on here have already been convinced he’s the scourge of the Earth and should be jailed for life. Usually settlements include non-disclosure agreements prohibiting both parties from discussing the cases. I can’t believe Rusty Hardin wouldn’t include those in the settlements. Which brings up an interesting question; if the 10 plaintiffs and Buzbee show up on Sunday and start ripping Watson and saying he’s a pervert or predator, does Watson go after them ?

  30. nowthatsfunny says:
    December 1, 2022 at 1:31 pm
    Why is so hard for some people to understand? He has two lawsuits looming over him. Once they are over, he will answer all questions just like all the other players who have had problems do. This is not hard folks.

    ————————————————————————–

    You really think he will answer all questions???? Now that is funny!!

  31. Tony Awesome says:
    December 1, 2022 at 1:56 pm
    If I were Watson,… I wouldn’t answer them either. It’s a football presser,… not a political press conference.
    ___________

    How is questioning a sexual predator political?

  32. Not a fan of his, but he is a football player doing a football interview. Personal questions shouldn’t be allowed. Injuries I understand as they can determine how ready you are for a game. Personal questions have no business. That’s why we have local and national news outlets, as well as TMZ who thinks they are a news outlet.

  33. doyouknowgod says:
    December 1, 2022 at 1:35 pm
    Some of you need to move outta your parent’s basement. This is not hard. He has pending CIVIL lawsuits (not criminal) and until they are over, you don’t comment on them. Ummmm, not hard to comprehend.
    *********************************
    LOL!! More like all of them…

  34. pioniere says:
    December 1, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    I hope fans in every city booing him loudly and often is a feature for the rest of his career. Absolute scumbag. I would be embarrassed (more than usual) to be a Browns fan today.
    ————-

    By 7 minutes into the first quarter it will stop. People don’t pay to go to games because they yearn to join protest movements; they go to watch football games.

  35. You would think that one of the main parts of the NFL’s conditions for Waston is that he admits guilt and shows contrition. In fact, one of the reasons the NFL cited when they suspended him was that he lied by denying some of the aspects of the charges. Since he is still unwilling to take responsibility, I would argue that he is not complying with all of the terms they placed him and his suspension should be extended indefinately.

  36. The only person to objectively hear all sides said Watson should be suspended six games and called his behavior “non-violent sexual assault.” Why then do so many people on this site think they know more than that judge when it’s obvious we all know less? Why do people believe an ambulance chasing attorney over a retired federal judge? If Buzbee said the sky was green and Watson said it’s blue, I fear some would actually believe Buzbee simply because they hate Watson.

  37. Stating that he declined is misleading. He’s legally unable to answer any non-football related questions due to pending litigation. (As he clearly stated in the presser)

  38. Whether you/we like it or not, this is a smart position to take, and one that I assume he’ll maintain. After a while, reporters will get tired of asking him when he consistently won’t talk.
    Over time, and it will take longer than this season, this story will fade. I’m not saying people will forget, because they won’t, but it will no longer be headlines everyday.

  39. ottograham says:
    December 1, 2022 at 1:21 pm
    His lawyers finally gave him good advice, just do not answer questions on this ever again. (now about that settlement agreement, how in the heck did Rusty Hardin not have language preventing the paid off accusers and Buzby from in person protesting?)

    So now the victims would be forbidden to attend football games? We can speculate about why they would want to attend but keep in mind that their cases are already closed and no additional money is forthcoming. I’m assuming their action is simply to send a message to Watson that they won’t be forgotten; good for them.

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