One NFL senior advisor remains worried despite the NFL’s 11-game suspension — along with a $5 million fine — handed to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Rita Smith, who serves as an advisor for the NFL focused on matters of domestic violence and sexual assault, spoke via phone call with cleveland.com on Friday — offering her concerns following the suspension of Watson.
“I feel like he’s playing us,” Smith said. “He’s saying exactly what he thinks he needs to say to get on the field again. He’s not thinking strategically at all about ‘Did I cause harm to other people?’ He’s not questioning any of his behaviors at all. He’s absolutely certain from that last statement ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. This is all about people trying to get at me, and I just want to go play ball.’
“That energy is not good for future reoffending. That purports to me that he’s still a danger to people because he’s done absolutely no self-reflection that I can tell. You don’t have that many violations reported from somebody who’s not doing anything wrong.”
Smith isn’t the only NFL employee who expressed a concern regarding Watson?s actions. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also shared a similar sentiment to that of Smith’s — calling Watson’s behavior “predatory” and “egregious” in response to the initial suspension of six games.
Of Watson’s 25 accusers — who all filed civil suits — 23 settled with confidential amounts, with one currently pending trial.
The 26-year-old signed a five-year contract worth $230 million with the Browns this offseason.