Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Made Everything Worse by Speaking on Deshaun Watson Suspension
By Liam McKeone
Deshaun Watson will miss 11 games and get fined $5 million in a settlement reached with the NFL on Thursday. Both Watson and the Cleveland Browns released a statement on the matter in the wake of the news. The Browns' statement was authored by owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife, Dee. Those kinds of statements in these kinds of situations usually marks the end of the matter at hand. Cookie-cutter apologies will be made to the press, the suspension gets served, and everyone moves on. As depressing as it is, that's often the reality, even if the situation is as heinous as Watson's.
But of course that's not how this went. Watson went in front of reporters and immediately reminded everybody he feels zero remorse about what happened, going as far to say that he only apologized for the people that were "triggered" and not because he felt like he did anything wrong. Then Jimmy Haslam decided to talk to the reporters, which is a bit unusual. Owners aren't obligated to speak on these sorts of situations and most of them keep it at a simple written release, if they even go that far.
But Haslam had to go out there and defend his new QB who just settled two dozen civil suits. And he somehow made things worse for himself and his organization.
In the midst of answering questions about Watson's suspension, Haslam (for reasons unknown) tried to remind everyone that the Browns have other players, too. They certainly do. None of them are missing the next 11 games after two dozen women went to court over sexual misconduct allegations!
Then Haslam went on a big speech about how second chances are crucial, which was predictable. He brought up Kareem Hunt as an example of how the Browns took a chance on someone and it paid off. Hunt was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 after a video was posted of him kicking a woman in a hotel. He has since stayed out of trouble but Haslam pointing to how the team thought it was a good idea to sign a player who assaulted a woman isn't really the "gotcha" he thinks it is. On top of that, Cleveland gave Hunt barely more than a veteran minimum contract with zero dollars guaranteed. They didn't exactly do that with Watson, that's for damn sure. In fact, they did the exact opposite.
This last video is perhaps most telling. Haslam told the reporters in attendance that it's important to remember Watson is only 26 years-old. And a hell of a quarterback. Which is the only thing that matters to Haslam, apparently.
Everyone involved already looked terrible here. Haslam made it all the worse by deciding to try and defend his quarterback and his team's actions.