I’ve spent a great deal of time watching and reading all of the salacious and even embarrassing details of all that supposedly surrounds Deshaun Watson’s saga.
The more I read, my once ambivalent views on this matter have changed. I’m relieved that one way or another, this messy, ugly situation will one day fade.
However, there are just some things you can not unread or interviews you can’t unhear. That’s where I am sitting writing this article, perplexed, left with one simple three-word question. Why?
The grand jury’s failure to return any indictments represents a de facto assumption of innocence. Not actual innocence nor guilt.
So, now bolstered by the grand jury decision (or indecision) Watson seems unfazed and he hasn’t shown much in the way of contrition. Even after admitting encounters/behaviors with unlicensed massage therapists, he’s unwilling to understand some folks’ raised eye-brows at his alleged behavior.
Sure, he landed a $230 million dollar contract, all of which, based on his talent, and he is well worth the price. However, anyone willing to look objectively, with their orange colored glasses removed, understands, there’s a difference between guilt or innocence and right or wrong.
Just look at the Brown’s introductory press conference with Watson, it was awkwardly uncomfortable. It seemed as though everyone on the stage was talking around the subject, gingerly navigating through the politically correct minefield.
I listened as Watson himself used the term, (I’m paraphrasing) I’m unable to speak on this matter, like someone that constantly invokes the fifth amendment, protecting one’s self incrimination.
His inability or unwillingness to answer, while a legal necessity, does gives the average person the perception that he’s just another entitled, self absorbed, privileged professional athlete. A notion I know untrue but it’s not me that counts, it’s the court of public opinion.
In an earlier article, I wrote of Watson getting a new beginning, wherever he was traded. While true, the rank and file, blue collar fans that have made him rich beyond his wildest dreams, may have nagging questions about his character. That can not bode well in the long run for not just Watson the athlete, but as a man.
Just read the almost tepid supportive remarks regarding Watson by many or even some closest to him declining to even comment. That silence is deafening. All legal necessities but no less concerning for those wanting desperately to believe in Watson.
There is an unwritten rule by some in the Clemson family that says no “real Tiger fan” should ever question anything done or not done by a Clemson coach or athlete. If that is a rule, I guess by that standard, I’m a rule breaker and aligned with a different faction of fans, the radical free thinkers.
Watson was/is a hero to many Clemson fans, both young and old, but there could forever be a dark stain on his career if he pretends nothing ever happened. He can easily afford his own private island but can he really afford to taint his reputation?
Yes, there is a huge difference between legality or illegality and right or wrong. The two can, unfortunately, be mutually inclusive. I hope for his sake and that of his supportive family, he starts this new chapter in his career and life by showing all he has learned from the lessons of this sad, painful story. For what it’s worth, I believe he will.
**Opinions shared are those of the author and may or may not reflect the views of publishers
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