Browns owner Jimmy Haslam insists he ‘absolutely’ would bring Deshaun Watson back to Cleveland today, despite star QB’s 11-game suspension and $5 million fine for dozens of sexual assaults: ‘Should he never be part of society ?’
- Jimmy Haslam defended the team’s trade for Deshaun Watson on Thursday
- Watson was suspended for 11 games due to sexual misconduct allegations
- He is now expected to make his debut in December against the Texans
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has no regrets about signing Deshaun Watson after the quarterback was suspended 11 games Thursday for sexual misconduct allegations.
When asked, Haslam said he would “absolutely” re-sign Watson today, despite the fact that he has been accused by two dozen women of sexual assault in civil lawsuits.
“Will he never play again?”, Haslam thought. “Should he never be part of society?”
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has no regrets about trading for Deshaun Watson
“We gave Kareem Hunt another chance and it worked out pretty well.”
Hunt was released by the Chiefs in 2018 after a video surfaced of him assaulting a woman in a hotel.
However, as a Twitter user noted, Hunt and Watson’s “second chances” look quite different.
Hunt, a Pro Bowler with the Chiefs, was cut by Kansas City and brought in by Cleveland on a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
As for Watson, the Browns traded three first-round picks (and more) to Houston for him, and he was subsequently given a five-year, $230 million contract extension by Cleveland.
Watson will now miss a large portion of the first year of that contract after the NFL and the players union settled the league’s appeal of Watson’s suspension.
Watson maintained his innocence Thursday but apologized to those he had “triggered”
He was initially given a lighter six-game suspension by an independent arbitrator.
As part of the terms of the suspension, Watson must “immediately undergo a professional evaluation by behavioral experts and will follow their treatment program,” although the former Houston QB maintained his innocence Thursday.
Watson has used deliberate language in discussing the allegations, saying on Thursday that his apology was to the people he had “triggered”, and last week apologized “to all the women I have affected”.
“I’m moving forward with my career and my life, and I continue to maintain my innocence,” Watson told reporters Thursday.
“Just because settlement happens doesn’t mean a person is guilty.”
Watson was also fined $5 million, which will be combined with a $1 million contribution from the NFL and the Browns to create a $7 million charitable fund to be used to educate young people about sexual assault.
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center issued a statement to DailyMail.com in light of the suspension.
“The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center stands with those who have been hurt by Deshaun Watson.
“While traditional criminal justice avenues may have failed his accusers, today’s NFL and NFLPA settlement of increased penalties is a step toward validating their experiences. Healing comes to survivors in many forms.
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center believes in and supports survivors. Continued headlines trigger too many. Our staff is available 24/7/365 online or by calling/texting (216) 619-6192.’
Watson is now expected to make his debut against the Texans – his old team – on December 4
Watson also released a statement in response to the suspension.
“I am grateful that the disciplinary process has come to an end and greatly appreciate the tremendous support I have received throughout my short time with the Browns organization,” Watson so.
“I apologize once again for any pain this situation has caused. I take responsibility for the decision I made. My focus going forward is to work to become the best version of myself on and off the field and support my teammates in any way possible while I’m away from the team.’
“I’m excited about what the future holds for me in Cleveland.”
Watson can practice until August 30, and will be eligible for reinstatement on November 28.
His first game, assuming he’s healthy, will be against the Texans on Dec. 4.