Embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson insisted he ‘never assaulted or disrespected’ any woman as the Cleveland Browns introduced him to fans on Friday after the player signed a new multi-million dollar contract.
Watson has faced allegations from at least 22 women who say he sexually assaulted them or behaved inappropriately around them during massage therapy visits.
Watson addressed the mountain of charges against him during Friday’s Browns press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus and assured fans that he was not brought up to disrespect women.
“I understand that all the circumstances are very difficult, especially for the female side of the fans in this community. I am not naive. I know these allegations are very, very serious,” Watson said at the press conference. “But I have never assaulted any woman. I have never disrespected any woman. I was raised by a single mother who has two aunts, who is a sister, and she raised me.
“I was raised to be authentic and to respect everyone and everything around me,” Watson added. “So I’ve always stood for that and will continue to stick to that. I just want the opportunity to be able to show who I really am in the community and be active and help people and serve others. .
Watson admitted the charges are a “stain” that will be “with me for a while”, but he insisted he was innocent of the charges. “I have never done these things that these people claim,” he exclaimed.
When asked why her claims should be believed in the face of accusations from so many women, Watson replied that “what I can continue to do is tell the truth, and that is that I have never assaulted, disrespected or harassed a woman in my life”.
“As I said before, I was brought up differently,” he added. “It’s not my DNA. It’s not my culture. It’s not me as a person. That’s not how I was raised. For me, it’s to keep pushing forward and showing people who I really am.
For their part, Browns officials, including general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski, said they carefully reviewed the charges and concluded that Watson was a good recruit. The discussion was “a five-month odyssey,” Berry insisted.
However, it was also reported that the “odyssey” investigation into Watson’s suitability for membership in the Browns never included speaking to any of Watson’s accusers.
Despite Watson’s denials and Brown’s assurances, people have many questions:
Watson directly calls the 22 lying women pic.twitter.com/QEnK2wvxS8
— IT Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) March 25, 2022
Let me translate the Browns/Watson press conference…
Browns: He’s a great QB, we gave him the best possible deal, who cares.
Watson: You have nothing against me, let’s play ball.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam:
(hidden under the table)
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 25, 2022
As long as Watson continues to say he “didn’t disrespect any woman,” it’s hard to listen to anything else he says.
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) March 25, 2022
The Browns keep saying they did a thorough review of the Watson case, but they haven’t spoken to any of the alleged victims. So it fails the full test.
— Mike Freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) March 25, 2022
They specifically cited interviews with Watson, his lawyers, etc. like putting them at ease with the job. If this is the case, there is no justification for not questioning the other party. https://t.co/H8wIEw5yzL
—Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 25, 2022
Deshaun Watson saying you go to 40 different massage therapists because people’s schedules change is a ridiculous comment.
This press conference is nonsense. #Texans
—Jake Asman (@JakeAsman) March 25, 2022
Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by 22 different women and he says he has no regrets. My God
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) March 25, 2022
The back and forth between ESPN @Jake_Trotter and Andrew Berry on whether the Browns or investigators hired by the Browns spoke to the 22 women who accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct: pic.twitter.com/4MAb5OPBl2
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) March 25, 2022
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