Deshaun Watson, by the latest count, is facing 16 sexual misconduct lawsuits, a concerning development that has prompted sportsbooks across the board to take down the quarterback’s trade odds in recent days.
It wasn’t long ago when Deshaun Watson was the belle of the ball. an up-and-coming signal caller that was the envy of many a franchise. And in recognition of his indisputable talent, the Texans signed Watson to one of the biggest NFL contracts in the history of the game, tying him to the franchise for the foreseeable.
There was no prevarication or hesitation at the time by the Texans organization, not as is sometimes seen elsewhere — for example, Dak Prescott and his exhaustive contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys that took forever to complete. Watson had the proven upside necessary to fulfill the role of a franchise quarterback, and so the Texans made it happen without too much fuss.
That was back in the summer of 2020, just ahead of the start of the NFL season kicking off in September. A time of optimism and promise, when the world was at Watson’s feet, his oyster to rule, and the Texans were considered viable contenders for Super Bowl 55.
Today, the story couldn’t be more different than it is, having traversed through several unexpected étapes to reach an ambiguous point where his viability in the league is actually being called into question.
Watson’s Story Was a Football Story
It revolved around his sudden request to be traded at the end of a disappointing season in Houston. He’d publicly voiced displeasure about several of the organisation’s decisions, in particular hiring Nick Caserio as their new general manager without his input. His frustration seemed to escalate further when the Texans hired David Culley as head coach.
In keeping with the climate of social unrest and upheaval over racial injustice and socio-economic inequality, Watson made no secret about his desire to see more diversity within the organisation’s staffing decisions. Those weren’t reflected in the ultimate hires alas, and that in part led Watson to ask to be dealt away.
Every reputable betting site took hold of that storyline and ran with it. Deshaun Watson’s future in the NFL was a football question after all, deserving of NFL prop odds for bettors to sink their teeth into. Odds markets went to press with potential landing spots for the quarterback, listing several Super Bowl 56 worthy teams as likely landing spots for 2021 as well as teams with upside such as the Panthers, Broncos, Dolphins and Jets, to name a few.
In the last few weeks though, the narrative on Watson has taken a most unsavoury and shocking twist, transcending football altogether. One by one allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct started to trickle in this month and as those began to swell to a worrisome level it became the only talking point involving the suddenly embattled quarterback. Indeed, in direct response to these allegations, sportsbooks have taken down all markets pertaining to Watson’s 2021 NFL prospects.
The NFL has launched an investigation into these allegations last week and the Texans have issued a statement in response as well.
“The NFL informed us today that they will conduct an investigation into the allegations made in the civil lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson,” the team said. “We will stay in close contact with the league as they do.
Separately, Watson has directly responded to these allegations, denying vehemently each and every one of them.
To date, 16 allegations have been filed against Watson, a weighty number that’s threatening to take Watson’s future out of football and into the legal arena and court of public opinion. It’s not a question of where Watson will play next season, but rather whether he will even play at all.