Deshaun Watson’s sexual assault allegations and the hazards of the ‘good man’ protection

If you’re shocked by something concerning the authorized case towards Deshaun Watson, be shocked by the numbers. On Wednesday, two extra girls filed lawsuits towards the quarterback, bringing the whole to 21. Twenty-one girls who say he sexually assaulted or behaved inappropriately towards them. However that’s not the quantity I’m caught on.

I’m caught on 18. That’s what number of girls made optimistic statements about Watson’s character, which his lawyer launched nearly as quickly as the latest lawsuits went reside on the Harris county district clerk’s web site. These testimonials are talked about in information tales alongside the rising pile of fits – as in the event that they carry the same weight, as in the event that they imply something in any respect.

They don’t.

Since he led Clemson to a nationwide championship in 2017, Watson has been painted as one in every of soccer’s good guys. His teammates like him. He labored with Habitat for Humanity. These are info. They stand on their very own, and so they don’t have any relationship to the matter at hand. We don’t but know if Watson is responsible of the allegations filed towards him, and he has denied them. However so-called good guys do horrible issues on a regular basis.

Take into consideration the script each time somebody in sports activities is fired, suspended or dealing with authorized motion. It’s at all times the identical: A normal supervisor or a group proprietor or a coach will speak concerning the due diligence they did, the calls they made, the glowing critiques. So clearly, itno matter transgression it’seffectively, it’s surprising.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s assume groups do make these calls. More often than not they’re going to show up applause, and most groups received’t dig any deeper. There’s at all times somebody keen to say this participant (or coach, or coach, or scout) is an effective man. Possibly that somebody believes it. Possibly there are 18 someones.

Affirmative statements don’t negate lawsuits. Charitable work doesn’t preclude felony habits. Being a superb teammate doesn’t assure respectful habits off the sector.

However too typically, wethe mediablur these strains. We see gamers in locker rooms and develop relationships with them in these secure, managed, contrived areas. We expect we all know them. We study their lives, their households, their hobbies, and we overlook. We overlook that we don’t actually know them even just a little bit, that it’s not our job to routinely give them the good thing about the doubt.

Watson, although, has been getting that profit because the first case towards him was filed. Reporters have referred to as individuals near him for remark and commented themselves about his character. Solely the mounting variety of lawsuits, it appears, has been sufficient to persuade some individuals within the soccer world that this isn’t one thing they will ignore. It shouldn’t take 21 accusations. It shouldn’t even take two. Even when it’s the nicest participant you’ve ever interviewed, one of the best talker in your TV.

After I was in grad faculty, I coated the Missouri soccer group for a season, and in my first week on the beat, the group’s star working again, Derrick Washington, was pulled out of shape with no rationalization. I requested if a colleague may get to the native courthouse earlier than it closed to see if there have been any pending felony fees.

There have been. A lady had come ahead alleging Washington had sexually assaulted her. He was discovered responsible and sentenced to 5 years in jail.

Later, after the whirlwind of the preliminary reporting slowed, I discovered Washington was one of many most-liked gamers on the group. He was a captain, a vocal chief, the man coaches would level to for example. I knew none of that on the timeand I’m wondering now what I would’ve completed in a different way if I had. Would I’ve been slower to discover a worst-case state of affairs? I hope not.

The reality of the Watson case stays to be seen, and he at present faces civil lawsuits fairly than felony fees. However let’s mood the speak of his status. Let’s overlook about character witnesses and whether or not he’s a pleasant man and seek for the info. And if we’re going to provide weight to the phrases of 18 girls, then we should give it to the 21 as effectively21 girls who don’t have the luxurious of character witnesses, of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, of an adoring public holding quick to the idea that this individual, who they don’t know, is sweet.

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