NFL fans calling Deshaun Watson "sick f**k" something that Browns will have to live with forever 

Deshaun Watson in action against Jacksonville
Deshaun Watson in action against Jacksonville

When the Cleveland Browns pulled the trigger on the Deshaun Watson trade, they would have been aware that a wave of criticism would be coming their way. Whether they made provisions for that wave to become a tsunami is an entirely different matter.

When Watson took the field in the Browns' first preseason game, against Jacksonville Jaguars, he faced the ire of the fans. Chants of 'sick f**k' rang around the stadium. This was not a completely unexpected outcome since the allegations against Watson have been getting a lot of attention.

On March 12, 2022, Watson learned that he would not be indicted by a Texas grand jury in cases of alleged sexual misconduct. Immediately, his supporters and some NFL analysts declared him exonerated, as he would face no criminal charges.

Unfortunately, that was far from a true reflection of the situation. The decision not to indict him had nothing to do with innocence, but rather the belief that there was not enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Commentators like Adam Schefter were accused of making irresponsible comments, and although he would later apologize, the damage was already done. Perception is reality, and for Watson, at least temporarily, the perception was one of innocence.

"This was a poorly worded tweet that deserves a proper response. It was intended to provide insight into the strategy of Watson’s legal team from its POV. I should have been clearer. As legal experts have explained, a lack of an indictment alone does not mean someone is innocent."

230 million reasons to choose the Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam
The Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam

With Deshaun Watson apparently in the clear, the battle for his signature was well underway. Four teams, the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Cleveland Browns had strong interest. Cleveland was initially eliminated, as it was believed he had no interest in playing in Ohio.

The NFL community was on tenterhooks, waiting to hear Watson's decision, who, for all his faults, still remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Fans did not have to wait long before it was announced that the Houston Texans had agreed to trade with... the Cleveland Browns.


Many believe that the NFL community will never forgive the Browns for acquiring the former Clemson standout. If they are looking for reasons why, then the first place to start would be the egregious contract they handed him.

Despite not wanting to play in Cleveland and having 22 outstanding civil cases alleging sexual misconduct, the Browns rewarded Watson with a $230 million contract.

If that wasn't enough to trigger the NFL fanbase, the Browns fully guaranteed every penny. Just for good measure, they structured it in such a manner that Watson would face little in the way of a financial penalty should he later be suspended.


The public response was not favorable, as the Browns soon had to defend what the majority of NFL fans, and the wider general public, believed was indefensible. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center described the Browns' actions as "triggering."

"We understand the story surrounding DeShaun Watson joining the Cleveland Browns team is triggering far too many of our friends and neighbors. For those who need additional support, please know Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is available to you 24/7/365.
"To the community we say, we see you. We hear your outrage. We feel it too. Every click. Every post and every tweet. Every donation sends a clear message. For everyone who wants to join in the fight against sexual violence, we encourage you to do so"

From bad to worse for Deshaun Watson and the Browns

Cleveland Browns introduce their new quarterback Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns introduce their new quarterback Deshaun Watson

The ink had not long dried on his new contract, when the Deshaun Watson story took a sinister twist. Victims began speaking out, and the details of the alleged abuse were truly shocking. Still, Cleveland remained resolute in support of their new quarterback, who had shown little to no remorse for his actions.

In the court of public opinion, the evidence against the signal caller was mounting, with further victims coming forward. Finally, after 16 months of investigation, the under-fire quarterback faced a disciplinary hearing.

Within weeks, the verdict was in, and according to retired Judge Sue Robinson, Deshaun Watson was guilty of the accusations against him. He was handed a six-game suspension. However, the NFL appealed against the decision, asking for a longer punishment.


Robinson admonished the Browns quarterback for reaffirming his innocence and refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. While he was attempting to absolve himself, he was also agreeing settlements in his civil cases.

Will Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns ever be forgiven?

Cleveland Browns preseason training camp in 2022
Cleveland Browns preseason training camp in 2022

Eventually, Deshaun Watson will make a permanent return to the field. Should he retain his previous elite level of play, then some will forget this entire saga, but most won't. Cleveland placed winning above morality, and if that proves successful, few in the Browns boardroom will care.

Still, for Watson, this will blight the rest of his career mostly due to his refusal to take any accountability. He has been accused of behaving in a predatory manner and seems unrepentant.

But why would he be repentant? Even with a year-long suspension, he will not be financially inconvenienced, despite having spent two seasons kicking his heels. He will return, and will once again be receiving endless adulation, pats on the back, and everyone telling him how great he is. What could possibly go wrong?

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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