Could Deshaun Watson Miss The 2021 And 2022 NFL Season?


Could Deshaun Watson Miss The 2021 And 2022 NFL Season? | Sports Takes & News |

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One of the biggest offseason stories in the NFL continues to be the status of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The previously sought-after passing leader from last season has been embroiled in off field trouble this year, preventing the Texans from trading Watson even if they wanted to, and leaving the quarterback’s overall availability in question heading into the 2021 season. A new report is flowing around the NFL that could see Deshaun Watson be unable to play for the 2021 season, as well as the 2022 season.

An important cornerstone of the American justice system is that everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty. That concept has been carried into the world of sports with leagues now being unable to suspend players for something they might have done unless and until the legal system has had their say on the matter. The result is player unions have leagues hold off on any discipline they might doll out until the courts have their say. 

With over twenty different women coming forward and filing lawsuits against Deshawn Watson for sexually misconduct, the status of the Texans quarterback for this season is in doubt. Some feel that if the lawsuits are not settled before the start of the season, Watson will end up on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. Meaning Houston would need to pay his salary this season, but he won’t be on the active roster and won’t take the field for the Texans or any team that trades for him in 2021.

From a football standpoint, here is where the plot thickens: If Watson’s case goes to trial or is eventually settled in 2022, he will not get any credit for being “suspended” if he does land on the Exempt List this year. Meaning the NFL could keep him from playing for part or all of the 2022 season after the justice system passes judgement.

Putting aside my personal belief that if found guilty in a court of law, Deshaun Watson should be registered as a sex offender and banned from the NFL for life, what is going on here, from a football standpoint is interesting. Houston needed to stock up on quarterbacks this offseason despite having a talented one under contract for the next four seasons. That quarterback told the team he was unhappy with who they chose to become the next head coach and wanted out; now, Watson may not be able to play for anyone since he is as toxic as anyone in NFL history has been ,and is facing two years off the field during the prime of his career.

After the charges of double jeopardy that former Baltimore running back Ray Rice leveled against the NFL and the Ravens, the league and the union has now taken a wait and see approach before rendering penalties for any off-field indiscretions. Rice, as you might remember, was first suspended by the NFL for an off-field episode with his then fiancé because a New Jersey court send the running back to counseling.  Only after the league suspended him did a video tape of Rice striking and knocking out his fiancé come to light, forcing the team to release the running back right before the start of the 2014 season.

Now NFL players have their day in court to settle cases or go to trial before being asked to answer to the league and their team. With the courts delayed in Houston and this case taking a year before Deshaun Watson is schedule to give his deposition, it appears to be a safe bet that unless the league wants a major distraction on their hands for the 2021 season, the quarterback will be paid his $10.5 Million this season while on the Exempt List. Not exactly how the system was intended to work; however, it is the fairest route for the player and his legal rights no matter how badly his situation sets back the football team who will pay him this year.

As for 2022, Deshawn Watson’s fate is in the hands of those who filed suit against him, with those making claims having the right to settle and put a quick end to this or go to trial and potentially see us talking about Watson’s uncertain future a year from now. Watson’s lawyers have said no deals are pending since not everyone wants to settle, meaning a trial next spring is at this point likely to happen. From now until then, Deshawn Watson is as much a part of the NFL as you or I are, because for the 2021 season, he will be a spectator, just one being paid by Houston because his rights were protected.

So, I offer this suggestion: If Deshaun Watson is found guilty, he should no longer be welcomed in the NFL again for harming nearly two dozen massage therapists. As for his money, Watson’s $10.5 Million goes into escrow this year, and if he is found innocent, he can have it, and if he is guilty, he doesn’t. Because no one should have this much power over the lives of so many people in the sports world, and if Deshaun Watson acted wrong, he should pay with his job and his money, and if he didn’t he should be allowed to see his football life return to normal. 

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Could Deshaun Watson Miss The 2021 And 2022 NFL Season? |

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