Deshaun Watson Suspension

There was a really great post a few days ago about Integrity by Orangerushsaga and within that discussion Deshaun Watson was brought up. There were a few opinions offered ( all valid) and I thought I’d post something and see if there’d be any more commentary now that Watson has received a six game suspension.

This is of course a "Goldilocks" problem in that the suspension is either too much, too little or just right, and although the NFL is threatening to challenge it that seems more like a marketing ploy for the League to save face more then anything. I mean, they may challenge it but my guess is if they do then they know that Watson may challenge it as well ( going back on his stated desire not to) and the League could lose big time.

Below is a message I sent to the Pat Mcafee show on March 27th. My hope at the time was that a national presence would have a more salient conversation about this, but that obviously didn’t happen.

Here’s the message:

" A Hypothetical defense of Deshaun Watson: I’m not going to exonerate Watson in this letter. I’m not going to excoriate Watson either. I’m going to lay out a hypothetical case where not only does this not make sense, but where no one is lying. And, it’s going to get ugly.

First off Watson clearly has a fetish. That fetish is anonymous sexual encounters via massage therapists. That speaks directly to why he visited so many massage therapists instead of just a few. It’s a fetish that he most likely pushed too far while falling short of anything criminal. That’s what Civil lawsuits are for. If Watson was looking for a sexual encounter during a massage then he easily can have tried, without a criminal act, to have the encounter go that direction. Happens everyday. In every city.

Secondly, Watson seemingly did nothing illegal ( at least as of this writing) given that both Grand Juries failed to indict. Look at all the factors allayed against him in that process: Watson is a Black man in a conservative state with known, demonstrative racial judicial bias, in particular a Black man with multiple white women accusing him. He’s rich. He’s an athlete. He’s famous. He wanted out of Texas. Years into the #Metoo movement there is a more general tendency to believe the accuser and let it go to trial. He’s entitled.

Although some of those factors would work for him during a trial ( He’s rich and famous), it all works against him with a Grand Jury. All of it. The prosecution in a Grand Jury just needs a shred of evidence to go to trial. Even if there’s a HINT of criminality he’s going to get indicted then stand trial or cop a plea. Yet he beat two indictments.

As much as the volume of accusations works against him in regards to public opinion, that same volume works for him if a Grand jury fails to indict Watson. It simply defies all logic that they couldn’t get an indictment IF he’s guilty of any criminal act.

Watson has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. Here’s the thing, unless you’ve actually had to stare down a charge that will land you in prison for 30 years then you have no clue as to that type of pressure. I have. Many of my friends have. Trust me when I say this, it’s utterly terrifying. Mine was for drugs, which would have put me in a separate hierarchy in prison then someone with sexual assault charge. That’s the shit going through your mind when you’re looking at those charges.

If you’re guilty, even a tiny bit guilty, you’ll cop to a plea. Settle. Hell, even if you’re not guilty you’ll cop a plea if you’re looking at 30 and the plea will get 5. It’s basic math at that point and a good attorney will point you that direction. Watson could have settled, walked away from football with millions of dollars ( still would’ve been young, pretty AND rich) and faced a lot less penalties. He didn’t. What that means is that that man either has bigger balls then anyone on the planet earth or he believes he did nothing criminal.

So the question becomes how are 22 women lying? Here’s the thing, they’re not lying. If you’ve never been in a meeting with an attorney where something real and tangible ( usually the attorneys money) is at stake then you maybe don’t know how this works. Let me tell you.

Here’s how it works. Attorneys will lead their potential clients by emphasizing words or hypothetical scenarios during a discussion. As a real life example it’ll go like this: " We can form this company to protect you IF you have INTENT to invest. Do you have that INTENT? ". The response is, "Well yes sir I do." And then the attorney cannot be held legally liable if that intent is never exercised. Or, they will speak in hypotheticals. ‘" hypothetically speaking if X happened then Y could be the potential outcome." If the hypothetical X isn’t a lie on your part then you simply agree with and enhance the hypothetical and then everything can proceed.

There’s a few things about the Watson case that make no sense. First off why were there no allegations prior to the trade request then the deluge? Exonerated by not one but two grand juries makes no sense if he’s guilty of a criminal act. Watson NOT settling if guilty given all that’s against him.

Here’s how it starts to makes sense. Bob McNair knows Tony Buzzbee. Bob McNair, billionaire, powerful. Likely a plantation owner sense of racism ( See: Donald Sterling). Not used to dealing with an "asset" that has leverage. And Bob McNair is white hot pissed off at Deshaun Watson. Any owner of any company can tell you how infuriating it is to have an employee dictate rules of engagement to you. Power flows FROM ownership. Not from the employee TO ownership.

Now enter Tony Buzzbee, who, just has to lead the interview a bit. " Hey, IF Watson pursued this, THEN there could be a potential settlement. Did he?" " Well yes sir, he did". It’s a simple legal strategy to embellish a portion of reality and it happens every day, all the time.

This entire thing makes sense if the Houston Texans and Bob McNair knew that Deshaun Watson had a fetish and had evidence of it. Hell, Watson was likely somewhat open with them or close teammates or coaches. Likely a semi open secret. It’s not really hidden amongst men if someone got a happy ending at a massage. When Watson asked for a trade the Texans used that knowledge and an attorney in pocket and went scarred earth.

It’s good chess from a business perspective for the Texans. The thinking would be that Watson would settle and have to come crawling back to them. If Watson settles he likely has to go back to the Texans ( no one else would take him) at a reduced rate, which given the obscene contract he just signed likely means $100M or more gain for the Texans. It also makes Watson, and other players a supplicant in a time period where players are gaining leverage over ownership. Ownership traditionally doesn’t think favorably on that.

It starts to makes sense if we assume that Watson isn’t innocent but did nothing criminal, and the women involved aren’t lying. But it really only makes sense if there’s another party involved. A party with both leverage and motivation.

Buzzbee’ s motivation is vast, curry favor with a billionaire, make millions from a settlement. Make millions more by raising his fees in perpetuity based on the national case. McNair’s motivation is simple: revenge and a clear message to his players ( assets) going forward.

Also, Buzzbee didn’t do anything illegal and did do something that virtually every attorney does regularly, lead his clients to a favorable outcome. McNair really didn’t do anything illegal. Most likely he simply provided insider information or some phone numbers to an attorney he knew and had in his pocket. He probably wanted to use them as leverage against Watson in the next contract negotiations.

The women involved are motivated by a need for both justice and money. Again, it’s entirely possible that Watson isn’t a criminal but isn’t exactly a knight in shining armor here either. Watson motivation is simple, he thinks he did nothing wrong and wants to clear his name so he can continue both his career and also his money.

And there you go, that’s how you get this mess and that’s really how the judicial system actually works in America. It’s ugly and it’s uncomfortable to look at. But here we are."

End of message.

My stance with Watson is pretty simple: I think it’s incumbent on men to really understand several things about sexual predators and the changes that MeToo has affected in society. The first is that a plurality of men are awful and treat women abusively or badly and fundamentally that needs to change. That change needs to partially come from other men by not allowing a space for that type of behavior to grow.

The next is that accusation is not guilt, regardless of the internet. However much I feel that the US legal system is flawed ( which it is) it’s still better then mob rule, which is basically social media in the 21st century has become.

There’s an often cherry picked statistic from people that says that only 1% of all sexual assault cases are false. What this comes from is an FBI report that says that the number of false accusations of this type is unknowable because there are not enough laws on the books. The report states that it could be 1%-23% and the FBI simply settled on 8% for their internal reports. So it could be 1% and there’s an equal chance it’s could be 23%. Cherry picking stats is a terrible way to try and win an argument.

Oddly there’s a statistic that Americans seem to agree on ( shocker). A poll was conducted for Conservative men and woman and Liberal men and women asking what they thought false accusations in sexual assault were. Everyone came in between 29%-34%, pretty much the margin of error and oddly close to the upper end of the FBI report.

I think it’s really important for men ( and society in general) to grasp these two dichotomies: Men need to change in a lot of ways and that starts with good men. Also, women can falsely accuse when given lots of power and no real consequences for that false accusation and there needs to be an understanding that that issue has a good chance of being much higher then 1%. For context of Power without accountability just look at the Stanford prison Experiment for what unchecked power can do.

Again, accusation is not guilt.

As always feel free to comment, insult all members of my family or DM some poop emojis. Cheers.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.