Bad behavior should not be rewarded with $230 million

When an NFL player is faced with 24 allegations of sexual assualt against him, a fine and a suspension is a slap on the wrist. This is the worst time to be a female football fan, especially from Ohio. 


Deshaun Watson, quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, was suspended for 11 games (originally six) this football season after 24 women filed civil lawsuits against him. These suits allege sexual assaults took place during massages, where Watson met with 66 women over the span of 17 months. That calculates to about four women assaulted a month. 


It angers me that every article I research about Watson mentions how he wants to push through this situation and move on with his career, or how much money Watson and the Browns would be making even with the suspension. It completely dismisses the fact that over 20 women spoke out against Watson. 


Football fans like me want to know about the five-year, $230 million contract Watson signed with the Browns, having full knowledge about the accusations. To save face, the team fined Watson $5 million, which is considered pocket change compared to the contract, contributed an extra $1 million with the NFL, and used it to create a fund to prevent sexual misconduct and assault. To a woman like me, that donation is hypocritical if the Browns choose to continue to allow Watson to be on their team. 


Out of the 24 lawsuits, one is still unsettled as the accuser refuses to take the pay-off and agree to keep quiet. 


A similar situation is happening with Matt Araiza, who was recently released from the Buffalo Bills. Araiza also faces a civil lawsuit alleging he was part of an off-campus gang rape of a 17-year-old girl. Araiza is now a free agent, but it’s unlikely that he will be signed to a team.  


Because this is happening, Araiza’s parents released a statement that questioned why their son is the “only one receiving this kind of treatment.” I would argue that their son is being treated fairly well, considering what he allegedly did. 


Allegations such as these explain a lot about the person and those who defend it—the NFL and its players in this case. It’s hard to be a Browns fan and know our quarterback is alleged to have done these horrible things to women.  


To a female football fan, it’s discouraging to see teams act this way and not take responsibility for their players and their actions. When you put business before women’s safety, it unofficially declares to all football audiences that you’d rather make money than do the right thing. In this case, the right thing to do is to let Watson go.