Well, now we know why the Texans wanted to keep the media out of practice.
On Thursday morning, quarterback Deshaun Watson walked off the field, with cameras rolling. He didn’t like it.
“Why are you all always filming me every day?” he said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. “It’s the same shit.”
Watson, who has not spoken to reporters or to anyone since the first of 22 civil lawsuits were filed against him in March, is clearly frustrated. But he has clear responsibility for the circumstances in which he finds himself.
Regardless of whether he ultimately is found legally responsible (in civil or criminal court) for any type of sexual misconduct, the past admissions from his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, make clear that Watson’s behavior (for example, Hardin has acknowledged that some massage therapies that became consensual sexual encounters) helped create the current problem.
Watson also chose to show up for training camp, despite his well-documented desire to not play for the Texans. He wanted both to avoid the $50,000 per day in non-waivable fines and to position himself to get his full salary from the team if he’s placed on paid leave, if/when any of the 10 criminal complaints made against him result in felony charges.
He likely arrived thinking he would be traded, but when the Texans refused to relax their expectations, that didn’t happen. Now, the team is hoping that he’ll change his mind about not playing for them. At some point, the Texans could decide to play hardball, telling Watson it’s time to do the job he’s been paid handsomely to do or to leave (and to accept the financial consequences).
That’s the broader problem with hold-ins, whether due to Watson’s situation or financial. At what point does the team say, “Enough”?
For Watson, Thursday was the day that he essentially said “enough” when it comes to the fact that cameras were recording him walking from the practice field. How would he react if he actually were facing questions about the lawsuits, the criminal complaints, or his decision to show up for camp but to not actually prepare to play football?
Right or wrong, Watson has benefited from kid-glove treatment from the team and the media, for months. If he’s going to bristle at something so innocuous as filming him leaving the practice field, he’s assuming a very real risk that the kid-glove treatment will end.