NFL arbitrator in Deshaun Watson case Sue L. An appeal of the six-game suspension handed down by Robinson has been filed. Watson is accused of sexually harassing and/or assaulting at least 24 women who worked for him as massage therapists. A particularly damaging twist, The Texans sent an aid his way In the form of a non-disclosure agreement, which is designed to prevent women from speaking publicly about their experiences.
Although 24 women filed lawsuits, Watson was found to have made more than 60 visits over a 15-month period. And he was found to have ejaculated on one of four massage therapists interviewed by the NFL. Watson denies any wrongdoing.
Robinson, a former federal judge, said in his ruling, “Mr. Watson’s pattern of conduct is more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.”
And that is saying something.
The NFL reportedly wanted to keep Watson out for another year, but after collectively bargaining over player discipline, it couldn’t impose that punishment until Robinson made his inadequate call. But Robinson contends in part that he’s following a lower precedent for “nonviolent” offenses, so if the NFL wants to raise the bar for a player who commits industrialized sexual assault, he has no choice but to appeal.
It needs to set a new precedent and consistently enforce its discipline for the players and more importantly the owners.
When you cover the NFL, if you write about Ray Rice, you’ll hear from anonymous Ravens fans who wonder what his girlfriend did to prompt that punch in the elevator. Write about the arrest of Patriot owner Robert Kraft Solicitation for prostitution in a massage parlor (The complaint was later dropped.) And you hear from Boston-area workers in support of massage-parlor handjobs.
Whether it makes sense or not, the NFL’s stance on the matter is important. Being a fan of a sports team is not a rational process. It’s a teeth-gritting loyalty, love Tom Brady with a passion for a jersey-saving cause, or hate him. When it comes to things like the systematic harassment of massage therapists, fandom can cause otherwise reasonable people to make complicated arguments about towel size and consent because your sense of right and wrong can cheer for your quarterback on Sunday. And that cannot be.
Look no further than this The crowd of fans roared Watson’s closer this week in Browns training camp.
A long suspension is really triage for a situation the league didn’t handle well to begin with. The first lawsuit against Watson was filed in March 2021 while he was still with the Texans, and the process of getting the Browns meant he was outbid by teams, disputed the price and the weak-tea term “off-field issues” on debate shows and NFL forums. , when more than two dozen women described a devastating pattern of harassment.
New York Times’ Jenny Ventus explains this timeline succinctly on the in-house podcast, The Daily.
Massage therapists are professionals, and NFL players and owners have a history of treating them very professionally. Two massage therapists In 2011, Jet filed a sexual harassment case against Bimanand was Craft’s arrest after illegal visit Orchid of Asia Day Spa in 2018.
There are plenty of NFL fans who are perfectly fine blaming the collateral damage of this behavior on their team’s wins and losses. “What were the therapists wearing?” Is this what the NFL wants to be? At least not when it comes to players.
If you are an owner, you can use an army of lawyers to get a technical closure, or Sail around in an expensive boat to avoid a subpoena. Commanders owner Dan Snyder eventually testified to Congress about the alleged harassing workplace environment in Washington, but still managed to avoid doing so under oath. And does the NFL weigh in on this childishness?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would receive far less derision from the NFL Players Association and fans if the league held owners to the same standard it holds players to for the same behavior.
If you want to say that there is a double standard when it comes to NFL discipline, you will find no argument here. But that doesn’t mean reclassifying Watson’s sexual assault as nonviolent. Stealing paper from the copy room is nonviolent. Using someone’s Netflix password is nonviolent. Telling an employee you’re a very important NFL player and then ejaculating on their arm, as Watson was allegedly told by a therapist interviewed by the NFL, is a different classification of interaction.
When we consider all crime as some trade, gender-based crimes are discounted. Trauma has no value, and therefore the law does not properly value it. Women who came forward said their lives and businesses were affected. Vrentas toll reportIt is there for anyone to see.
That Robinson forbade Watson to seek an outside massage therapist is an absolute joke. A repentant Watson must find other ways to prey on women. The problem isn’t the message, it’s the attack. Brent Nakkara, who is accused in a lawsuit that allegedly gave Watson an NDA as a shield against assault claims, is still listed as the Texans’ director of security and facility operations.
The NFL has fan support and ratings that it really likes. It has made great strides in hiring women as coaches and referees, but the league still has an unhealthy culture when it comes to women. Being more consistent with discipline and holding teams and owners like Kraft and Snyder to account is a baseline in cases like Watson’s.
Finally, if you dislike anything in this column, please write it down, put it in an envelope, and deliver it to my yacht.