QB Deshaun Watson (6.14.22)

Opening statement:

“First off, I want to thank everyone for coming out, and I know I have not talked to you guys since the last press conference when the signing happened. Just first off, I just want to say again thanks to this organization, the Haslams AB (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry, (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski), all of the fans that have reached out and my teammates for the support and just the welcoming of being a Cleveland Brown and what it really means. I also want to thank – appreciate the fan base, especially the interactions I have had outside in the community. That has been awesome. It has been some good interactions. When I go out to dinner, to movies and to things like that, everything has been pretty good so I want to thank the fans and continue to want to show my face in the community and build that relationship with all of the fans around here because I know that is the most important in Cleveland is being a Cleveland Brown and having the fans and the team be as one because it is one big family. I just really wanted to say that and looking forward to continue, like I said before, be in the community, and I am happy to be a Cleveland Brown. This is going to be my home for the rest of my career – that is the plan – and everything has been going good. I also want to say I know that there are still legal proceedings still going on so I know you guys have a lot of questions that you probably want answers to and want to ask and some of those I will try my best to answer, but at the same time, I have to respect the process that is still going on and I may or may not be able to answer those questions so I hope you guys respect that and let the proceedings continue to work out.”


On how he has been able to keep his focus with the potential distractions of reports coming out nearly every day about the legal proceedings:

“Honestly, it has been tough. Just trying to make sure that I stay balanced with my mental and with my social life, but I have a great family, I have a great legal team and I have a great supporting cast here in this organization. When I walk into the building, all of that stuff is outside. I have to focus on football and my teammates, building that trust with those guys on the football field and off the field and really just coming to work because the gameplan is the season starts and getting everyone on the same page.”


On the number of civil cases increasing since his introductory press conference in March and if that is surprising to him:

“Like I said before, I go each and every day focusing on my tasks and being the best person I can be. I can’t control what the other side is doing with the legal process. Like I said before, I just have to continue to just focus on being the best Deshaun Watson I can be for this organization.”


On his meetings with the NFL and if he is concerned while waiting for the NFL to release its decision:

“I can’t control that. I met with the NFL a couple of weeks ago, and I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me. I spent hours with the people that they brought down. That is all I can do is just be honest and tell them exactly what happened. I know they have a job [to do] so I have to respect that, and that is what we wanted to do is cooperate, and they have to make a decision that is for the league.”


On why a jury should believe his account over dozens of women’s accounts of what occurred, in the event the cases do go before a jury:

“I understand that question and I definitely respect it, but I feel like with this environment coming off of the football field, it is hard to answer that question, especially without talking to anybody on my legal team. At the same time, I have been honest and I have been truthful about my stance, and that is I never forced anyone or I never assaulted anyone. That is what I have been saying since the beginning, and I am going to continue to do that. Until all of the facts come out on the legal side, I have to continue to just go with the process with my legal team in the court of law.”


On the allegations harming his reputation despite him stating his innocence and if he has thought about a defamation countersuit:

“I understand that; I know these allegations are very serious, and you have to respect that and everything that goes with it, and it impacts so many people – not just me and my family and this organization but people that are outside in the community: this fan base, people from the Houston fan base and anyone who was a fan of mine. As far as [a defamation countersuit], I have not gotten into any of that. My biggest thing is just wanting to clear my name so I can get back to being in the environment that I am most comfortable in, and that is being in the community, helping people and being that role model and leader and also being on the football field with my teammates and try to win ball games. That is something that I have not really been focused on. [I am focused on] just really clearing my name and just focusing on doing what is right and being honest, and whoever I have to answer to, I have to give them the true facts.”


On the accuracy of reports that his legal team offered $100,000 per accuser to settle the civil suits at some point in time:

“I feel like there is a lot of articles that are out there and facts and things like that. There was a process that was going on back in November with another organization so I can’t really get too far into details with that, but with the process that was going on before I became a Cleveland Brown, that is a whole other discussion.”


On the New York Time reporting that he received massages from 66 women over 17 months and if that number seems accurate to him:

“I do not think so from what me and my attorneys went through. At the same time, that is more of a legal question that I can’t really get into details about so you would probably have to ask my attorneys and things like that to confirm.”


On saying in his introductory press conference in March that he never disrespected a woman and that he had no regrets and if he stands by those previous statements:

“I think that question kind of triggered a lot of people, not just women in general but a lot of people in the league from women to males and things like that. What I was saying is yes, I never assaulted, disrespected or harassed anyone. At the same time, I do understand that I do have regrets as far as the impact it has had on the community and people outside of just myself, and that includes my family, that includes this organization, that includes my teammates in this locker room that have to answer to these questions, that includes the fanbase of the Cleveland Browns and that includes males, females and everyone across the world. That is one thing I do regret is the impact it has triggered so many people, and it is tough to have to deal with.”


On if he regrets any of his actions in the past:

“Like I said, I never assaulted anyone. I never harassed anyone. I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything.”


On how he builds trust with his teammates, given the reports surrounding the legal proceedings:

“I just be myself. I come in here with my head held high. I come in here, and if any one of those guys needs to ask questions or they have any concerns, they know they can come to my locker and ask me. Ever since I walked in here from Day 1, these guys have rallied around me and supported me. If anything popped up, questions have been asked, and I answered them truthfully. Outside of that, we come in here, we work and we try to be the best Cleveland Browns we can be and the best teammates we can be. We have had a lot of fun getting to know each other, especially on the trip to the Bahamas. That was awesome. These guys have also came behind me and supported me.”


On how he has emotionally dealt with additional civil suits being filed and ongoing media coverage of the legal proceedings:

“I think it has been a long year and a half, I can say that. Personally, it has been tough. Since I have come here and became a Cleveland Brown, I have been able to use all of the resources that this organization has and been able to start using counseling and talking with someone just to make sure that my mental is straight so I can be prepared to walk on this field and be as sharp as I possibly can. I am going to continue to do that and be the best person and grow as an individual, grow as  a human being and just be able to be the best citizen and the best person that I can be outside this field and also when I walk in this building being the best teammate and player that I can be.”


On if he and his legal team would consider having legal cases be heard this year rather than next year with the goal of clearing his name sooner:

“I am not sure really. Like I said when it comes down to league and their decision, we have to respect that and let them do their process and finish their investigation and report. Like I said before, I have talked to the league, and I have been honest and told them truthfully of every question that they asked. I can’t really have control in that and then whatever the decision comes then I feel like that is the next step for this organization and this league.”


On if he would like the court hearings to happen sooner, if possible:

“That is possible.”


On if he is open to settling the civil cases now and what would it take to do so:

“Like I said, I just want to clear my name and be able to let the facts and the legal procedures continue to play out. Right now, that is all I am doing is wanting to clear my name and be able to let all of the facts come out in the court of law and be able to focus on that.”


On what is the difference between him now in comparison to when the allegations were first made:

“Just being able to focus on myself a little bit and just figure out how I can be the best human being I can be, the best teammate I can be, the best son I can be and the best friend I can be, and just focus on that. Just having a smile on my face, walk with my head held high because I know who I really am and just being the best citizen I can be in this community. Like I said before, it has been awesome to be able to get out in the community and go to restaurants. It was one instance where I went to the movies with my girlfriend and it was a group of family – it was probably 30 – and they bought us popcorn and invited us to a movie so I thought that was pretty awesome to be able to get out and let people really know who I really am. My focus is really just focusing on Deshaun Watson and being the best person I can be.”


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