When the NFL’s and NFLPA’s jointly-appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson announced a six-game suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, disappointment in the system became the resounding reaction.
Then the NFL appealed the decision, also opening the possibility for a lawsuit from Watson’s legal team. However, the league and players association hit the bargaining table and settled on an 11-game suspension for the quarterback. Additionally, Watson faces a $5 million fine and extensive behavioral examination.
But after multiple women – all massage therapists in the Houston area – accused Watson of sexual misconduct, the Browns quarterback settled nearly all of the 24 civil lawsuits. However, one woman named Lauren Baxley refuses to settle with Watson, continuing to tell her harrowing story.
Baxley wrote an exclusive piece with The Daily Beast published on Friday morning. Baxley begins, “I was forced into quitting for the sake of my health and life; I have not felt safe providing therapy since before June of 2020.”
“I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they have not included any sincere acknowledgment of remorse and wrongdoings, nor have they included any promises of rehabilitative treatment,” Baxley continues.
While Watson met with Cleveland media after the publication of his new suspension, many thought the quarterback lacked true remorse. Baxley echoes the sentiment in her piece.
“Watson still refuses to admit that he harassed and committed indecent assault against me,” Baxley wrote. “Any settlement offer he has made has been a dismissal of his evil actions, and I know that unless there is an authoritative intervention, he will continue his destructive behavior.”
In concluding her post, Baxley said, “I sincerely, with humility in my relative anonymity, ask that those in power over Deshaun Watson make swift and stringent decisions to prevent further acts of harm against women.”
Deshaun Watson’s Lacking Remorse Makes Ugly Situation Worse
Watson released a written apology through Cleveland’s social media outlets on Thursday. However, his immediate statements to the press erred in providing true sentiment to many.
While Watson apologized to the press, it wasn’t for his actions and the alleged sexual assault. Rather the quarterback apologized for the distraction and situation, citing, “there were a lot of people triggered.”
However, in the midst of Watson’s media scrum, the quarterback maintained his innocence. His refusal to acknowledge the hurt caused by his actions lends credence to Baxley’s story.
As the saga of impending punishment closes for Deshaun Watson, Baxley’s post reminds us the situation is far from an end. The quarterback returns to action in Week 13 against his former Houston Texans, but this story is likely to carry much longer than 11 games in Watson’s NFL career.