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The View from the Sharp Tank: Debating with myself regarding Deshaun Watson and the Browns

With the start of training camp today down in West Virginia, which makes today the unofficial start to the 2023 football season. Hard to believe, but there are just over two weeks until the Browns and Jets play in the Hall of Fame Game down in Canton. This fact has had me debating with myself about this upcoming season and about one player in particular, the starting quarterback for our Browns, Deshaun Watson.

Everything bad that is and has been attached to Watson’s name over the last few years is well known by almost everyone, even those who really aren’t into sports, so I am going to rehash all of that. What I have been going back and forth with is a pretty huge question for me, and I am sure I am not the only one pondering the same thing. Is it possible to still love the team I was born and raised to love, but still despise your team’s starting quarterback? After all, rooting for the team’s success is rooting for his success too.

Even though he was somehow never charged with any wrongdoings, it is well known that people’s opinions do not always need proof or a conviction of any kind to automatically convict them in their minds. For me, it is hard to even see Watson without thinking that the guy is at the very least a creep and hate that he is the face of my favorite team. Although football players shouldn’t be someone that kids look up to, kids have looked up to players since the beginning of time, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.

I am raising my newly adopted son Sebastian to be a Browns fan just like me, but am I wrong in doing that? What am I teaching him by rooting for the team with Watson as the lead character so to speak? He’s 11 years old, do I need to tell him a very PG rated version of this whole story and make this an educational moment on how to treat women as a young man growing up in this society?

I know many men in the sports and entertainment world has a shoddy history of some sort, but people overlook the bad that they have done, or were alleged of, and just saw them as a sports player or a singer, or whatever occupation they had. Michael Jackson was on the top of that list for me. We all knew what he allegedly did, and most people considered him creepy, but a lot like me said “I know he’s a creep, but what a talent!” Browns great Jim Brown had a checkered past, but sports fans overlooked that, especially over the last few decades. Ex Browns running back, and Willoughby native Kareem Hunt got released from the Kansas City Chiefs because of an altercation with a female, however I hardly heard a word from Browns fans about this once he signed with the Browns.

Should we give that same way of thought to Deshaun Watson? Should we just look at him as a football player, and not as a man who allegedly committed sex crimes? A bigger question is CAN we just look at him as just a football player and be able to root for him to lead our favorite team to the playoffs this season?

If I am being honest with you, I would have to say I am torn. I love the Browns and have treated them like family since I was a very young boy. I want to continue rooting for them just like my dad raised me to do, and I know come Browns Sunday’s, that I will root for them no matter how hard I try not to. Can I bring myself to root for Watson himself? At this moment I can’t say I will be able to do that. Will that change somewhere down the line? Not sure. Can you root for someone you don’t like? I will find out.


Jerry is a proud husband and father. He is a lifelong fan of anything related to Cleveland sports, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the WWE. On Friday nights in the fall you can find him covering Brunswick high school football.



  1. REV. Edward Turner Jr

    July 19, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    You are wrong as 2 left shoes, the man is innocent of all charges, falsely accused just to get money, did he have sex with some of them, Probably. But do you hate Wilt Chamberlain or any other athlete that has taken advantage of their financial and star status. You or I being single would probably of done the same thing at his age. The Bible teaches us not to judge anyone, That’s why Jesus forgives all our sin if we repent. Give the brother a break, not one women said he raped them, it was consensual at the least. Let you son grow up loving the Browns like you did. Jim Brown, Kevin Mack were not angels were they. I am a Die Hard Browns fan win, loose, or Draw !!!!!!!

  2. Tim Corbett

    July 20, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Thought provoking column Jerry – and well done and written.
    There is strong opinion by some that if you do continue to root for the Browns AND Watson, you are less righteous than those that condemn Watson, and the Browns for signing him. You should be a “bigger man” than that – and turning your back on the Browns is the moral and right thing to do.
    I believe in innocent until proven guilty. The lawful professionals elected to not pursue criminal charges against Watson. If they had credible testimony against him, I think they would have pursued an indictment.
    The massage industry has had a very long reputation for cash payments for sex. See Robert Kraft, Patriots owner. I am not broad brushing all massage therapists – there are obviously thousands and thousands that are highly professional, but there are others that are not.
    Watson paid his NFL penalty of suspension and fine. If others judge me as less righteous because I want to give Watson another chance to do better – so be it. It is their right to feel that way.
    I am not a judge, but God is.
    Watson was very dumb, and did wrong. But my faith tells me that he deserves, as we all do, a chance to do better. Calling him a sexual predator might elevate those that elect to do that, but that is not the direction I will take.
    I am continuing to root for my lifelong team – the Browns, and their QB Watson.

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