Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson, in interview, apologizes to ‘all of the women that I have impacted in this situation’

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has made his first public apology to women who accused him of sexual misconduct during a massage session Friday.

“I want to say I’m really sorry to all the women I’ve influenced in this situation,” Watson said during a in-house interview on Browns’ pregame show that aired on Cleveland News 5.

The interview took place before Friday night’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which Watson started.

Prior to Friday, Watson had said in his only two interviews with reporters since joining the Houston Texans’ Browns that he had “no regrets” for his actions during the massage sessions. In his second interview at Cleveland’s minicamp in June, Watson reiterated that he had no regrets about his actions, although he admitted he regretted the impact the allegations had on those around him.

He stated otherwise on Friday.

“The decisions I’ve made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely want back,” he said on the Browns’ pregame show, “but I want to go on and grow and learn and show that I’m a real person with character and I’ll keep going.”

Watson and the Browns are waiting to hear if he will be banned for longer than the six-game ban he was given last week by independent arbitrator Sue L. Robinson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The NFL, seeking a tougher sentence, has appealed Robinson’s ruling, who will be heard by Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Harvey has no specific deadline to rule on the appeal, although the collective bargaining agreement requires him to work on an “accelerated” basis.

In her 16-page report, which concluded that Watson violated personal conduct policies with “extreme” and “predatory” behavior, Robinson noted that an aggravating factor in her decision to suspend Watson for six games is “lack of expressed regret”. “

Watson has been charged with sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior during massage sessions in civil lawsuits brought by 25 women. The encounters alleged in the lawsuits took place from March 2020 to March 2021, while Watson was a member of the Texans. The Browns traded for Watson in March 2022, sending three first-round draft picks to Houston before giving Watson a new $230 million fully guaranteed contract.

One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped after a judge ruled in April 2021 that the plaintiffs had to change their petitions to reveal their names. Two other women filed criminal charges against Watson, but did not charge him. Watson has settled or has agreed to settle all but one of the remaining lawsuits, which are still pending. In July, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made or were willing to file claims against the NFL organization for alleged “allowing” Watson’s behavior.

Friday was Watson’s first game since January 3, 2021, with the Texans. He said in the pregame interview that he was “super excited” to finally play.

“Every time I want to make sure I cherish that because I’m not sure when I can go out with those guys next time,” he said.

Watson was asked how he would use his time off the team when it comes to personal growth.

“I know I have a lot of work to do, especially on the pitch to make sure I’m ready to play when that moment comes, when I can step back on the pitch,” he said. “But most importantly, I also want to continue counseling and I want to make sure that I grow as a person, as an individual, for my decision-making on and off the field. I want to make sure that I’m just evolving as much as possible in the community, and that’s for the Cleveland community, that’s the NFL community and beyond.”


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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