The Cleveland Browns’ decision to acquire Deshaun Watson over the offseason was deeply controversial.
Not only did the front office coldly kick Baker Mayfield to the curb with the move, but they also did so in favor of bringing onboard a quarterback that had some very serious claims made against him. Things got so bad at one point that chatter intensified about the Browns-Houston Texans trade centering around Watson getting reversed.
To date, 25 women have accused Watson of various sexual improprieties that occurred during massage sessions. Of the 25 lawsuits that were filed, 20 were agreed to be settled and one was dropped over an issue involving the plaintiff’s name.
Watson is currently undergoing a hearing before the NFL and NFL Players Association’s jointly appointed disciplinary officer, Sue L. Robinson. From there a punishment will be doled out. A suspension is viewed as inevitable, though it is unclear whether it will span a certain amount of weeks or an entire season.
This week Browns star Kareem Hunt got brutally honest about the prospect of Watson having to miss extended time.
“I don’t know too much about the situation,” he said, per Camryn Justice of WEWS. “If he misses it, it’s the next man up mentality. I’m gonna be ready to play, I know the rest of the teams still gonna be ready to play. We didn’t have Deshaun last year or the years before.”
Hunt acknowledged that the topic of Watson and all that he brings with him is unavoidable, but that players were more focused on themselves.
“We do (talk about it), but we’re more worried about ourselves,” he said, per Ashley Bastock, cleveland.com. “It’s a business, man, that’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to worry about yourself, because if you don’t you could not be here.”
The Browns running back also admitted that the lack of certainty regarding Watson’s status added a layer of complexity to the preparation for next season for coaches and players.
“Yeah, it’s definitely stressful for them,” Hunt added. “It’s tough because they’re trying to figure out what pieces they’ve got for the season and what plays they want to put it. You know, there’s different plays for Deshaun and Jacoby, different playbook, different things we can do at quarterback.”
All in all, this is a rough situation for all involved.
The allegations made against Watson are legitimately disturbing. Between his distressing private DMs and deeply awkward text messages that paint an ugly picture his weird alleged sexual tendencies, nothing about this process has been pleasant.
Plus, something new seems to be going viral every day – like his troubling video with Mia Khalifa that set the internet ablaze last week.
That said, it is what it is at this point. Nothing can be done to change the trade. Whatever the NFL decides with Watson, both Browns players and the front office will simply have to deal with it.
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 30, 2022
In that respect, Hunt seems to have the right attitude.
Will the Browns rue the day they agreed to acquire Watson? Or will this trade prove to be a genius move when it’s all said and done?
An answer will emerge soon enough.