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NFL advisor says she feels Deshaun Watson is ‘playing us’ after Browns QB’s denial of wrongdoing


A minimum of one NFL figure didn’t appreciate Deshaun Watson saying he took “accountability” for his actions while accepting an 11-game suspension, then immediately proclaiming his innocence to anyone with a microphone.

NFL senior advisor Rita Smith, who advises the NFL on matters of domestic violence and sexual assault, told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot that she believes the Cleveland Browns quarterback has been lower than earnest within the aftermath of the sexual misconduct scandal that saw 25 different women sue him:

“I feel like he’s playing us,” Smith told cleveland.com by phone on Friday. “He’s saying exactly what he thinks he must say to get on the sector again. He’s not pondering strategically in any respect about ‘Did I cause harm to other people?’ He’s not questioning any of his behaviors in any respect. He’s absolutely certain from that last statement ‘I’ve done nothing improper. That is all about people attempting to get at me, and I just wish to go play ball.’”

Watson accepted an 11-game suspension in addition to a $5 million wonderful, the biggest for a player in NFL history, after the NFL appealed his initial six-game suspension for misconduct. A part of the deal struck before the case finished arbitration was that Watson would promptly undergo knowledgeable evaluation by behavioral experts and accept their treatment program.

Deshaun Watson will not be a guarantee to return after his 11 games are up. (AP Photo/David Richard)

When the suspension was announced, the Browns released a press release from Watson during which he apologized for “any pain this example has caused” and claimed to “take accountability for the selections I made.”

What “decisions” was Watson taking accountability for? You would not know from Watson’ post-suspension news conference, during which he said he “never assaulted or disrespected anyone.” As he has done throughout this process, Watson and the people insisted he had done nothing improper, even after they agreed for him to undergo behavioral treatment.

It was quintessential kettle logic, during which Watson issued an apology for a thing he then insisted had not happened.

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Smith told Cabot that refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing was predictive of recidivism:

“That energy is just not good for future reoffending,” she said. “That that purports to me that he’s still a danger to people, because he’s done absolutely no self-reflection that I can tell. You don’t have that many violations reported from any individual who’s not doing anything improper.

“He’s doing something improper in those sessions. He’s doing something inappropriate in those sessions. So he must determine what that’s and the way he can stop it in order that no person gets hurt in that process.”

If that attitude is shared by the people treating Watson, it could possibly be an issue for the Browns. Certainly one of the conditions of Watson’s punishment is that the third-party provider for his treatment program can delay his return to the sector in the event that they deem him non-compliant.

Unless that happens, Watson is ready to return to the sector on Dec. 4 against his old team, the Houston Texans. It will be his first NFL appearance in 699 days.

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