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Browns Release Statements Defending Deshaun Watson Trade

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Deshaun Watson

With a league investigation still ongoing into the 22 different sexual assault and harassment allegations against quarterback Deshaun Watson, it was well-known that any team who acquired him would be in for a public relations battle.

Well the Cleveland Browns, who acquired and extended Watson last Friday for a plethora of draft picks and a guaranteed contract of $230 million over five years, have started their public relations battle with a message put out to social media. And it only took the organization a full two days.

It’s been over a year since the league started investigating Watson back on March 18, 2021 just two days after lawyer Tony Buzbee filed the first lawsuit against Watson. Between then and April 5, 2021 the total number of lawsuits filed against Watson increased to the final tally, 22. The number did increase to 23, but only 22 women identified themselves and continued the lawsuits.

It took until April 29, 2021 for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to finally comment on the investigation saying, “We’re obviously following that and looking at that ourselves, independently. There are important steps that we will be taking as part of our personal conduct policy. When we get to that point, we will certainly make a decision.”

By July 26, 2021 10 women had filed police complaints against Watson. On March 11 of this year, the grand jury investigating the allegations revealed that Watson would not face any criminal char nages. A week later he was traded to Cleveland.

It is unclear where the NFL stands with their investigation into the allegations on Watson. As it stands, the NFL could suspend Watson for a minimum of six games through its code of conduct policy for violations related to sexual assault. The league confirmed in a statement that any trade would have, “no effect on the NFL’s ongoing and comprehensive investigation of the serious allegations against Watson. If the league’s investigation determines Watson violated the personal conduct policy, discipline may be imposed pursuant to the policy.”

The deal for Watson is also structured to minimize the financial risk for him should he be suspended. He is set to make a $1 million base salary this year meaning he will lose less than $60,000 a game if he were to be suspended. A full season suspension means he’d still get $229 million dollars of his contract.

 

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