As the Deshaun Watson saga continues, a strange phenomenon is being played out — the story isn’t getting the coverage it deserves.
Watson is accused of sexual assault or harassment by 22 separate women who’d allegedly been solicited for massages by the Houston Texans quarterback over the last two years. Two of the women, and there may soon be more, have identified themselves publicly and filed criminal charges against the NFL star.
With such a high profile case, and with an athlete as famous as Watson, one would expect the media to be in a feeding frenzy. Morning shows and sports radio stations around the country should be leading with the story, right? Well, not really.
Apart from perfunctory updates when new details emerge, most major outlets have offered scant coverage, focusing their attention on other stories, despite the relative lack of news, with the NFL in the middle of their offseason.
Not only is the conversation surrounding the case muted, the NFL has also held off on disciplining the franchise quarterback. Watson has yet to be placed on the NFL’s commissioner’s exempt list, but based on past decisions handed down by the NFL, he should land on it soon.
Clay Travis, founder of Outkick The Coverage and Fox Sports Radio Host, told The Daily Wire he believes there’s a deeper reason the Watson story has been covered the way it has, and that the quarterback won’t be playing anytime soon.
“I think the probability of him playing in 2021 is low,” Travis told The Daily Wire. “It’s possible that he’s the NFL’s version of Bill Cosby or Jeffrey Epstein before all is said and done. The next shoe to drop, proverbially, is whether or not there’s going to be criminal charges brought. And there are now criminal investigations, potentially in multiple states, looking into whether Deshaun Watson can be potentially liable from a criminal perspective for sexual assault.”
“Right now, it’s all civil related but Nike, Beats By Dre, ATB Department stores… all of them have backed away from Deshaun Watson,” Travis continued. “I would be very surprised if he plays in 2021 and I think he’s approaching severe criminal legal peril as well which could throw into question whether he’s able to ever play football again. That’s what is at stake right now.”
Travis elaborated, saying he thinks identity politics has played an integral role in shaping coverage of the story.
“What I love, in terms of difficulty for those in sports media, is you have two different identity politics colliding which is why I think you have people not picking sides,” Travis told The Daily Wire. “You’ve got ‘Me Too,’ with 22 different women. The majority of whom are minorities who are alleging this powerful, rich, fortunate quarterback took advantage of them.”
“And then you have the black quarterback who stands at the pyramid of victimization culture in the NFL and in college football in general, so you’re going to alienate one side of the identity politics equation. You go against the black quarterback or you go against the 22 women, the majority who are minority women, alleging sexual assault. So as a result, there’s an inability to discuss this case in a reasonable fashion.”
The NFL, and the media, seem hesitant to rush to judgement. The American justice system allows for those accused of crimes to have their day in court. “Innocent before proven guilty’ is one of the key pillars of our democracy after all. But in recent years, this pillar has been toppled.
The “Me Too” movement changed everything. In many ways, it changed things for the better. It brought more awareness to sexual assault and the power that men of influence hold.
However, it’s also blurred the lines between innocent and guilty. ‘Believe All Women” was a common phrase that came out of the movement. It immediately assumed men accused of sexual assault as guilty without giving them their day in court. The same cannot be said about the Watson case.
The media and the NFL have painted themselves into a corner. In handing down a definitive judgement on Watson, they risk appearing to damage the image of “marginalized groups” in the context of sports. In refusing to condemn Watson, they’ll be going against all that the “Believe All Women” crowd stands for.
“Which is why, under American justice, we need to treat everybody the same regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or politics,” Travis said. “And unfortunately we are not in that universe right now.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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