Embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson insisted that he “never assaulted or disrespected” any women as the Cleveland Browns presented him to fans on Friday after the player was signed to a new multimillion-dollar deal.
Watson has faced allegations by at least 22 women who say he sexually assaulted them or otherwise behaved inappropriately around them during massage therapy visits.
Watson addressed the mountain of accusations against him during Friday’s Browns presser at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus and assured fans that he was not raised to disrespect women.
“I understand the whole circumstances is very difficult, especially for the women’s side of the fans in this community. I’m not naive to that. I know these allegations are very, very serious,” Watson said during the news conference. “But I’ve never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised by a single-parent mom who has two aunties, who’s a sister, and that’s who raised me.
“I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone and everything around me,” Watson added. “So I’ve always defended that, and I will continue to stand on that. I just want the opportunity to be able to show who I really am in the community and be hands on and help people and serve other people.”
Watson admitted that the accusations are a “stain” that will be “with me for a while,” but he insisted that he was innocent of the charges. “I’ve never done these things that these people are alleging,” he exclaimed.
When asked why his claims should be believed over the accusations by so many women, Watson replied that “what I can continue to do is tell the truth, and that is I’ve never assaulted or disrespected or harassed any woman in my life.”
“Like I said before, I was raised differently,” he added. “That’s not my DNA. That’s not my culture. That’s not me as a person. That’s not how I was raised. For me, that’s to continue to push forward and show people who I really am.”
For their part, Browns officials, including General manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski, claimed that they looked into the accusations carefully and concluded that Watson was a good hire. The discussion was “a five-month odyssey,” Berry insisted.
However, it has also been reported that the “odyssey” investigation into Watson’s suitability to become a member of the Browns never included talking to any of Watson’s accusers.
Despite Watson’s denials and the Browns’ assurances, people have many questions:
Watson straight up calling all 22 women liars pic.twitter.com/QEnK2wvxS8
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) March 25, 2022
Let me translate the Browns/Watson press conference…
Browns: He's a great QB, we gave him the sweetest deal we could, we don't care.
Watson: You got nothing on me, let's play ball.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam:
(hiding under 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 comprehensive look at the Watson case but they didn’t talk to any of the alleged victims. So that fails the comprehensive test.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) March 25, 2022
They specifically cited interviews with Watson, his lawyers, etc as making them comfortable with the trade. If that’s the case, there’s zero justification for not interviewing the other side. https://t.co/H8wIEw5yzL
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 25, 2022
Deshaun Watson saying you go to 40 different massage therapists because peoples schedules change is a ridiculous comment.
This press conference is absurd. #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's @Jake_Trotter and Andrew Berry about whether the Browns or the investigators the Browns hired spoke to the 22 women who have accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct: pic.twitter.com/4MAb5OPBl2
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) March 25, 2022
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