A New Beginning for Deshaun Watson, Finally

A Clemson legends and one of greatest to ever wear the Paw has had quite a difficult year.

Deshaun Watson’s life, both public and private, has been turned upside down, inside out for all to see. Last week, a Houston grand jury failed to return indictments on any of the allegations made by some twenty or so licensed and unlicensed message therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct. While that is outstanding news for Watson and his career there are still 22 civil suits pending, so it isn’t quite over.

There is little doubt that whichever team lands Watson could become an immediate Super Bowl contender but there are many details to work through in such a mammoth and contingent ladened trade.

The leaders for Watson’s services have reportedly come down to the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Both would be great places to launch Watson’s new beginning. However, there are a few personal issues to overcome.

In this world, perception is more important, or at least more accepted, by the masses than truth. Unfortunately and probably unfairly, the perception that Watson has some underlying, personal demons to conquer is something that must be addressed.

I’m the first to say Watson is an adult and being such, he can make his own decisions and live life on his terms. However, as a public figure, a philanthropist and man of faith, he begins everyday with a target on his back because some people love to see the good stumble. It’s a strange, strange phenomenon, one that can’t be explained rationally, nor ignored.

Personally, I’m delighted that Watson is no longer under the dark cloud of a criminal investigation. I believe those 22 women were misguided and encouraged by an opportunistic attorney to cry foul, true or not. However, I have to be completely honest and objective, Watson’s admitted behavior did leave himself open to such brutal scrutiny.

Did he break the law? Obviously, the grand jury says no, but did he behave questionably, recklessly and naïvely? I can’t answer that question. However, I believe the painful experience he’s had to endure and the scrutiny he’s had to face should be a lesson learned. As adults, we learn that even though legal, some behaviors and actions need to be handled discreetly. It’s that simple.

A good reputation is one of the more precious things a person possesses and one that must be protected. At all cost. Here’s where perception creeps in.

Regardless of the facts or the truth, the prevailing perception is Watson has tainted and sullied his own reputation. I know this isn’t true and terribly unfair, but my thoughts have little effect on the public’s perception. How Watson handles the next chapter of his career will change everything.

Watson now has a great opportunity to have a new beginning, both professionally and personally. As smart and as kind and as generous as the man is, he will certainly rise to the occasion and prove all the naysayers wrong. I’m sure of it.

He will always be one of my all-time greatest Clemson Tigers. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the most perfect, 2:07 drive, the night everything changed. The night ‘Little Ole Clemson’ were the kings of college football. Obviously, it’s a night worth remembering and it would be unwise to bet against the quarterback continuing to be legendary, no matter where he lands.

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