Deshaun Watson declines to address whether he feels remorse

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Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson played in a regular-season game for the first time in 700 days. Much has happened since then, on the field and off it.

Off the field, Watson has been accused by more than 20 women of sexual misconduct during massage-therapy sessions. Since returning to the team this week, Watson has refused to talk about non-football issues.

After Sunday’s game, he was asked by reporters if he is “able to say today that you are remorseful for the conduct that got you suspended.”

“Like I said before, that’s something that legal and clinical have answered before, and they don’t want me to address anything like that,” Watson said. “Of course, it’s a tough situation. The suspension was tough. But at the same time, my main focus was just trying to be 1-0 as a football player today.”

He was asked again, “As you returned today, did you feel remorse for the actions that got you suspended?”

“Like I said, I was just excited to be back on the field today,” Watson said. “I did everything that I was asked and was required to do. I did all that, and I was able to be able to play and be on the field today.”

Watson’s decision to not address the situation contradicts his willingness to talk about it earlier this year. Lawsuits are pending now, lawsuits were pending then.

On the day he agreed to accept an 11-day suspension and to pay a $5 million fine, Watson maintained his innocence. He has said nothing publicly since then to alter that position.

Given the extremely player-friendly (and very vague) report from ESPN.com that Watson is showing “signs of progress” in treatment, it’s hard to know whether he truly is making progress if he won’t address whether, through treatment, he has changed his position as to whether he did nothing wrong.

Even if he’s not willing to admit that he did, fans in every stadium not in Cleveland will let him hear it. Watson tried to shrug it off on Sunday.

“They’re supposed to boo,” Watson said. “I’m a Cleveland Brown now, and we’re on the road. So, they’re supposed to do that.”

He pointed out he had been booed like that during his college and pro career. A reporter pointed out that, this time, it’s not a result of the Clemson-South Carolina or Titans-Texans rivalry.

“Like I said, I can’t control that,” Watson said.

He does have some control, to the extent that any of the booing is fueled by his failure to demonstrate true public remorse. While that wouldn’t end all boos entirely, it could take a little steam out of some of them.

Deshaun Watson declines to address whether he feels remorse originally appeared on Pro Football Talk