The only positive thing to come out of Thursday’s revelation that Deshaun Watson will be suspended for 11 games, fined $5 million, and ordered to undergo an evaluation and therapy for breaking the NFL’s personal-conduct code were the words “Today’s announcement closes the process.”

Panthers Failure With Deshaun Watson Reveals Obvious Truth To ...

Watson Committed Sexual Assault Against the Four Women

Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled that the NFL had proven under its own definition that Watson committed sexual assault against the four women whose cases were presented to her, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Watson’s alleged behaviour “predatory” last week, so the 11 games don’t feel like enough. When compared to the $230 million guaranteed contract the Cleveland Browns gave Watson in the spring, the punishment seems embarrassingly modest.

Watson’s insistence on Thursday that he is innocent and never sexually assaulted or even disrespected anyone, and that he was apologising because so many people were “triggered,” indicate that this settlement is, for him, not accompanied by remorse or even self-awareness, but merely a desire to get on with his life, and hopefully the counselling will be enough.

Given the seriousness of the allegations against Watson and Robinson’s conclusion, it is not enough that Watson simply moves on with his life. The Browns were apparently so worried about Watson receiving a massage without incident that general manager Andrew Berry revealed on Thursday that the organisation immediately formulated a protocol for how Watson would receive massages in the event of a soft tissue injury.

However, the NFL also wished to move on with its business, which led to the settlement. When Robinson’s initial six-game ban was handed down, the NFL pushed for a full year, but the NFLPA pushed back, wanting a far shorter suspension.

The 11-game suspension is a big increase from the original two games that Robinson imposed, but it’s evident that the focus of this arrangement was on getting this over with, on putting Watson and this shady case out of sight and mind before the start of the new season in early September.

It was assumed that the union would have sued the NFL if it had just implemented the sanctions it sought. “It’s significant, definitive, immediate, and final,” a league source said, explaining why the NFL approved the deal. It’s not ideal, but compromises like this are usually the norm in life. Nothing is perfect, but both sides agree they can live with the compromise. Everyone wanted things to end definitively.

On Thursday, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski spoke with a sense of conviction and clarity. The quarterback predicament for his team is finally revealed to him. For the NFL, this means not having to spend months in and out of courtrooms (one owner once said that the league fighting a player in court helped nobody except the lawyers and their billable hours), and for Watson, it means knowing exactly what he needs to accomplish in order to be reinstated.

However, the general public may benefit the most from this, as they will hopefully not have to hear Watson or the Browns’ owners discuss this again for a long.

Even after everything that has happened since March, when Cleveland first acquired the quarterback from Houston, Jimmy Haslam told reporters on Thursday that he would “definitely” make the trade for Watson again and made an impassioned case for people deserving second chances. Additionally, he voiced what everyone else has been thinking ever since the Browns went after Watson. This was a strategic move with an eye on the future, and he cares only about winning games.

Haslam stated on Thursday that the team intends to keep quarterback Deshaun Watson as their starting option for the foreseeable future because of his age and talent. Watson is 26 years old and plays at a high level in the NFL.

The Browns expected Watson to receive some sort of punishment, but they probably didn’t expect it to last 11 games. The Browns’ gambled cynically that fans would eventually overlook Watson’s alleged behaviour because of his transcendent play and the Browns’ consistent winning record on the field. It’s clear from past examples that this is the right estimate, but that doesn’t make the owner’s remarks (in which he also boasted of brisk ticket sales) any less insensitive.

However, Dee Haslam may have made the day’s most salient observation. Without actually saying so, she seemed to disagree with Watson’s judgement that he had done nothing wrong. She said, “I do think, in counselling, Deshaun will grow to learn a lot more about himself,” adding that she recognises the time commitment involved in counselling as a key factor in the NFL’s desire to reach this agreement now so that Watson can be evaluated by experts who will then lay out a course of treatment.

Last Words

Certainly, we can wish for that. Watson’s reinstatement might be pushed back or his punishment increased if he doesn’t cooperate. Absolutely nobody wants it to happen. When it comes to player cases, Watson’s is among the most disturbing the NFL has ever dealt with. Even though he was disciplined, it seems the punishment didn’t hit home with him because he didn’t feel remorseful about his actions Thursday. If the settlement is praised for anything, it should be that this unpleasant chapter may finally be closed.