Sean Pendergast

Four Things We Learned In Deshaun Watson's Latest Press Conference

Deshaun Watson finally met with the media on Tuesday afternoon.
Deshaun Watson finally met with the media on Tuesday afternoon. Screen grab from YouTube
On my radio show on SportsRadio 610 Thursday morning, I asked Houston Texans' general manager Nick Caserio his thoughts on the absurd notion that the NFL could step in and, due to the continued steady flow of lawsuits hitting Deshaun Watson, somehow reverse or void the trade that was consummated between the Texans and the Cleveland Browns in March.

I felt silly even asking the question, but silly people are fearful (or in the case of Cleveland, HOPEFUL) of silly things. Here was his answer:

Caserio_9_-_is_the_Watson_trade_final.mp3

So, sorry Cleveland. Deshaun Watson, and everything that comes with him, everything you're paying $230 million for, is your problem now. So now you have to brace yourself every day that there could be a new accuser popping out of the woodwork of society. With that as the backdrop, on the heels of two more lawsuits, and with promises of more from Tony Buzbee, Watson met with the media for the first time since his introductory Cleveland presser in March.

Here is the full video, with my thoughts below:
OK, I do think Watson did better this time around than he did back on March 25, although admittedly, it would have been hard to do worse. Here are four takeaways from this most recent press conference:

Deshaun Watson maintains his innocence
Multiple times, Watson said his goal is still to "clear his name":
“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.”
So, there will be no settlements, at least not any time soon. So buckle up, Cleveland!

He tried his best to walk back his "no regrets" comments that triggered so many people in March
Here was Watson's answer to the question in March as to whether or not he had any regrets (fast forward to 36:37):
Yeah, not great. On Tuesday, Watson tried to walk back those comments and at least express SOME regret, if not for his actions then at least for the impact this saga has had on his loved ones and teammates:
“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.”
If he doesn't think he did anything wrong, then it's tough to apologize for what people contend you did wrong, but this was, I suppose, about a C+ attempt to mitigate the damage.

Evidently, he is going to some form of counseling now
Back in March, Watson was asked specifically if he would start going to counseling as a result of his alleged behavior outlined in the lawsuits. At the time, he shrugged it off, said "No" because he "doesn't have a problem." I guess if you're claiming you did nothing wrong, this is a logical answer, but it does appear that Watson is seeking therapy in some form now. This was his response to how he is handling things emotionally these days:
“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.”
He wasn't asked to expound upon that, but it seems like the counseling he is receiving may be more on the "sports psychology" realm, as opposed to the "deviant behavior" realm. Perhaps Watson is concerned about handling crowd reactions upon his return to the field, where he will be decidedly viewed as a villain anywhere he goes.

Cleveland citizens are buying him popcorn at the movies!
When asked how he is acclimating to Cleveland, he gave an interesting anecdote toward the end of the press conference:
“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.”
Oftentimes, I struggle with how the rest of mankind feels about me, and then that one kind soul buys me a bucket of buttered popcorn, and I'm like "People really DO love me!" Now Deshaun knows how that feels!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast