Embattled NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson’s return to professional football won’t be welcoming.
Nine days after a Texas grand jury decided not to indict Watson on criminal charges, the Cleveland Browns pulled the trigger on a trade for him. The Houston Texans got three first-round picks, a 2023 third-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick sending the Browns the QB, and a 2024 fifth-rounder. Watson also secured the bag in the trade with a five-year contract worth $230 million with every single dollar guaranteed, the most guaranteed money on a single contract in NFL history per ESPN.
With acquiring Watson, the Browns also got the cloud of the 22 women who accused Watson of sexual assault and sexual misconduct they alleged they endured during massage sessions. Watson, who still faces civil suits due to those still potentially damning accusations, also brought scrutiny to the Browns franchise, with many not feeling the professional football team’s decision to acquire him. The Browns are not blind nor deaf to the backlash and did respond in a statement.
“We are acutely aware and empathetic to the highly personal sentiments expressed about this decision,” Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said. “Our team’s comprehensive evaluation process was of utmost importance due to the sensitive nature of his situation and the complex factors involved. We also understand there are still some legal proceedings that are ongoing, and we will respect due process.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski added that the team “did a tremendous amount of background on Deshaun.”
“It was important for us to meet with Deshaun in person as part of our team’s evaluation process, we had a candid conversation regarding his approach to coming into our organization and community,” Stefanski continued. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to coach Deshaun, he is ready to put in the hard work needed to help our team improve and make a positive impact in our community.”
Browns fans and organizations that champion women’s rights have called out the Browns for signing Watson despite the statements from the owners and coach.
We shall see if this energy towards Watson continues. Cleveland Brown’s new quarterback still faces potential punishment from the NFL. You can peep more reactions to the Browns trading for him in the gallery below.
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