Browns QB Deshaun Watson Refuses To Address Whether He Feels Remorse

'I did everything that I was asked and was required to do'

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December 4, 2022

Deshaun Watson played in his first NFL regular-season game in 700 days Sunday after serving an 11-game suspension.

The 27-year-old has been accused by 25 women of sexual misconduct during massage-therapy sessions. Watson settled 23 of the 26 lawsuits filed against him (one case was withdrawn for privacy reasons). The Cleveland Browns quarterback has said his defense lawyers have advised him not to talk about any of the legal proceedings, including the two open lawsuits, thus many of his news conferences were focused on football.

On the field, the rust was visible for Watson. The sixth-year quarterback passed for 12-of-22 for 131 yards and one interception. He admitted he felt every bit of the 700 days while playing against his former team, the Houston Texans.

Watson also was asked about his sexual misconduct allegations and whether he was “able to say today that you are remorseful for the conduct that got you suspended.”

“Like I said before, that’s something that legal and clinical have answered before, and they don’t want me to address anything like that,” Watson told reporters, per Pro Football Talk. ?Of course, it’s a tough situation. The suspension was tough. But at the same time, my main focus was just trying to be 1-0 as a football player today.”

When pressed again after his non-answer, Watson added: “Like I said, I was just excited to be back on the field today. I did everything that I was asked and was required to do. I did all that, and I was able to be able to play and be on the field today.”

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Again, the 27-year-old’s ongoing lawsuits likely are why Watson has not fully addressed his allegations, but he said in the past his story was never heard from, yet has not full addressed his sexual misconduct allegations.

Lauren Baxley, one of the two women with an open lawsuit against Watson, told The New York Times his return to the field was “incredibly painful to consider.”

“It is difficult to balance my efforts to heal, while being acutely aware that most in the media and sports world will continue to praise his athleticism and ignore his range of assaults against dozens of women,” Baxley wrote in a text message, per Vrentas. “Whatever nanoscopic punishment he may have fulfilled to the satisfaction of the NFL brings neither healing nor justice to us, nor protection for future women in his presence.”

The New York Times also reported Baxley declined an invitation from Tony Buzbee, the lawyer for most of the women who filed suits against Watson, to attend the game in a suite at NRG Stadium. Buzbee confirmed to The Times around 10 of Watson’s accusers showed up to the game. Baxley did not want to watch Watson’s return, either in person or on TV, but said she hoped the women who attended felt “safe and supported.”

Head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed Watson will be the starter in Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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