‘Of course’ Deshaun Watson got a second chance

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam believes in second chances, especially when it comes to his star quarterback in Deshaun Watson.

At a press conference at the team’s facility on Thursday – following the disciplinary ruling of Watson’s 11-game suspension and $5 million fine – Haslam defended the Browns’ decision to trade for the quarterback, saying they would. “absolutely” make the same decision today.

“I think in this country and hopefully around the world people deserve a second chance, OK. I really mean it,” Haslam said. “I’m struggling a bit. Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be part of society? Does he have no chance to rehabilitate? That’s what we’re gonna do , Okay.

“You can tell it’s because he’s a star quarterback. Well, sure,” Haslam said with a light laugh. “But if he was Joe Smith, he wouldn’t be. [in] headlines every day. We believe people deserve a second chance. We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and it worked pretty well.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam

Haslam was referring to the Browns signing Hunt in 2019 after a domestic violence incident that took place a year prior at a Cleveland-area hotel when the running back was a member of the Chiefs.

At the time, video footage released by TMZ showed Hunt shoving and kicking a woman, which led to Kansas City releases him. Cleveland police confirmed NFL.com that no arrests were made in the incident and that Hunt has not been charged.

Hunt – who was the NFL’s top rusher as a rookie in 2017 – then signed with the Browns in 2019 and served an eight-game suspension to start this season.

Watson, meanwhile, hasn’t played since the 2020 season. The quarterback was traded from the Texans to the Browns in March, when Cleveland signed Watson to a five-year, fully guaranteed, $230 million deal.

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson throws during practice Sunday.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson throws during practice Sunday.

Last week, Watson received a six-game suspension after a ruling by retired U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson – 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. by two dozen massage therapists.

The NFL appealed Robinson’s decision two days later and appointed Peter C. Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general, to handle the league’s appeal of Robinson’s decision.

Denise W. Whigham