Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has “been very isolated” and some of those around him have “jumped ship,” according to former Pro Bowl running back Fred Taylor, who discussed Watson’s six-game suspension on Monday, stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct.
During an appearance on ESPN’s morning show, “Get Up,” Taylor said he recently spoke to Watson through text messages, and that the quarterback is dealing with the consequences of 25 female massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct.
“He just wanted to get it out there that he is remorseful,” Taylor said. “He has shown that in our conversations and he has also expressed that people have jumped ship on him so he’s been very isolated… He just wants to get this behind him.”
Watson has maintained his innocence since sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public last March. The Pro Bowl quarterback has not yet addressed the media as of Monday afternoon.
“He feels bad about everyone involved in the situation,” Taylor said. “He hate that he put himself in that situation. It’s just going to bring a lot of distractions to the locker room and usually most coaches, teams, they want to minimize those distractions…
“But as you mentioned Chan [Channing Crowder] they all have to be big brothers [in the locker room], they all have to show support because even in Deshaun’s and my conversations that we’ve had, so many people he thinks turned their back on him. A lot of people ran away, and whether they did it right, correctly or not, I think now is a chance where you want to embrace your brother.”
Taylor went on to suggest that Watson should “maybe become an advocate” and “have some remorse, some sympathy” toward the women involved.
“He will be back after six weeks,” said Taylor, referring to Watson’s suspension. “He will move forward, the Browns will move forward and everything is going to move forward.”
On Monday, the decision by U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson to suspend Watson for six games this coming NFL season caused confusion among fans and other NFL players.
Robinson is the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and players’ union to determine whether Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.
The NFL has three days to submit an appeal to Robinson’s ruling.
“Again, I think if they [the NFL] do appeal, it’s simply to save face — nothing else,” said Taylor, adding, “This whole thing is a distraction.”
The NFL Players Association issued a statement on Sunday stating that it would not appeal Robinson’s ruling.
In total, 25 women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021. Three of the remaining four women with active lawsuits against Watson have reached confidential settlements with the Cleveland quarterback to end those cases, according to their attorney, Tony Buzbee.
“If you did nothing wrong then why are you settling civil cases?” Crowder questioned on “Get Up,” with his co-hosts of “The Pivot” podcast.