On Tuesday night, HBO Real sport with Bryant Gumbel will publish a story that includes interviews with “several” women who are accusing Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions. Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, doesn’t have high expectations for the finished product.
“I don’t know how it’s going to be, but I’m not optimistic,” Hardin told Mary Kay Cabot Cleveland Plain dealer. “I think they’re going to go public with the allegations made by the women without trying to see behind their merits.”
Hardin has tried in the past to get the media to focus on the merits or lack thereof of these specific allegations. His efforts didn’t last. Eventually he stopped trying.
“My approach all along was that we weren’t going to win the public opinion battle,” Hardin told Cabot, not mentioning the fact that he was actually trying to sway media and fans in 2021 with multiple press conferences and the release of evidence that may refute the allegations, such as B. Text messages. “And my goal has always been to get these cases investigated by law enforcement, and I firmly believed that trained investigators would eventually conclude that there was nothing to it from a criminal perspective, and that’s always been my focus. “
The problem, frankly, was that attorney Tony Buzbee caught the early momentum in the court of public opinion. By the time Watson’s camp tried to join the battle, in many ways the battle was already lost. So now the story is that the strategy has always been to forget public opinion and focus on the strict legal principles that determine whether or not wrongdoing occurred.
“I thought that’s what NFL teams care about the most, and with the exception of Miami, that’s true,” Hardin told Cabot. By highlighting Miami, Hardin alludes to the fact that the Dolphins have refused to trade for Watson in 2021 unless all 22 civil cases are resolved.
Regardless of the reasons for Hardin’s refraining from any effort to win public opinion in court, the fact remains that ultimately, public opinion drives everyone Decision of the NFL in accordance with the Personal Conduct Policy. The vast majority of American companies do not take action against employees for off-duty misconduct, especially when there is no arrest or conviction. Even then, for most offenses, most employers allow the employee to remain employed as long as the employee is physically able to show up for work.
The NFL’s efforts to monitor players’ personal lives stem solely from public relations considerations. Fans and the media expect real consequences for certain behavior, regardless of whether it is irrelevant to the player’s professional duties. So at the end of the day, public opinion and fan/media expectations will influence league decisions.
For example, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has never been arrested or even sued. In 2017 he was banned for six games due to allegations of domestic violence. Why? Because it comes three years after the commissioner almost lost his job because he felt he wasn’t aggressive enough in punishing former NFL running back Ray Rice.
The Commissioner, as explained in detail in playmaker, will not make the same mistake again. Therefore, regardless of what happens in court, the verdict of the court of public opinion will greatly influence the commissioner. Anyone who doesn’t see this doesn’t understand how the NFL administers its specific brand of gridiron justice.