Main victims help group on Deshaun Watson’s suspension: ‘Considerably shorter than warranted’


Almost 17 months after sexual assault accusations have been initially levied towards him, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for the primary six video games of the 2022 NFL season.

Given the general public outcry relating to the restricted nature of Watson’s ban — particularly compared to other NFL punishments — we spoke with Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of the Rape, Abuse, & Incest Nationwide Community, the nation’s main anti-sexual assault group generally often known as RAINN.

Social influence of Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension

Utilizing previous NFL precedents as a foundation for her determination, Decide Sue L. Robinson handed down Watson’s six-game ban. The NFL, which was initially concentrating on an indefinite suspension of not less than one yr, has the correct to enchantment. In the event that they do, commissioner Roger Goodell or a chosen appointee will make the ultimate name on Watson’s punishment.

Right here’s what Berkowitz needed to say about Watson’s ban, the aftermath, and the NFL’s private conduct coverage.

To start out, what’s your common response to Watson’s suspension?

“I used to be upset that it was considerably shorter than I feel is warranted. I’m hoping that the NFL will enchantment and that it’ll find yourself being someplace nearer to what the league had reportedly requested for.”

Does the NFL have to rethink its private conduct coverage? Are the precedents in place too mild? 

“I feel the league has come a good distance and has put a variety of work into this. I feel below precedents, an extended suspension was actually warranted right here. There have been longer suspensions for PED use. In my opinion, rape is a complete lot worse than PEDs.”

How does it make the NFL look when PED and substance abuse suspensions are equal or longer to bans for sexual assault?

“I feel it seems like there’s an imbalance within the punishments. From what I’ve learn, the league requested for a full-year suspension, which I feel was heading in the right direction. A full yr is suitable given the seriousness of the habits right here…

“There’s no punishment that’s going to undo the hurt [Watson] has executed to dozens of girls. However I feel a yr appears much more in keeping with different punishments for critical misbehavior, and it doesn’t get far more critical than accusations of raping two dozen individuals.”

What sort of message does this punishment ship to sexual assault victims?

“It’s unlucky. I feel in instances like this, the general public actually learns about how our society thinks about and offers with sexual violence. That is a kind of moments the place the general public is broadly listening to this situation.

“I feel it would look like a lightweight sentence to many survivors. I feel it’s a missed alternative. An extended suspension would have felt extra like one thing better-resembling justice.”

Do you suppose there will likely be protests at Browns video games this season?

“I don’t know if of us have plans for that, however based mostly on previous expertise, small protests wouldn’t shock me. However I think that when [Watson] is reinstated that followers will return to simply specializing in cheering for the group. I’d be shocked if there are massive protests.”

What does it say in regards to the Browns and the NFL that Watson was traded for a number of first-round picks and given a completely assured $230 million contract whereas going through these accusations?

“I used to be upset that the Browns made the choice to commerce for him, signal him, and assure the total contract. I feel they may have been higher company residents by going a unique route.

“I feel a technique they’ll make some effort right here is to take the cash that they’re not going to be paying whereas Watson is suspended and provides that to causes that may help survivors.”

When you or somebody you already know has been affected by sexual violence, free and confidential 24/7 help is on the market by means of RAINN’s Nationwide Sexual Assault Hotline at: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and by way of on-line chat at

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