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NFL senior adviser Rita Smith on Deshaun Watson: 'I think he's playing us'

In the eight days following Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson: (1) Received an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine; (2) issued a statement accepting responsibility for his decision; (3) ) quickly declared his innocence in a press conference, and the NFL had little to say about Watson’s lack of remorse.

On Friday, a consultant was hired in the Ray Rice fiasco to speak fiery about Watson’s attitude.

“I feel like he’s playing with us,” Rita Smith, the NFL’s senior adviser on domestic violence and sexual assault, told Mary Kay Cabot of

*) Cleveland Plains Dealer . “He’s saying exactly what he thinks he needs to say to play again. He’s not thinking strategically at all. “Have I done any harm to anyone?” “He didn’t question any of his actions at all. He was absolutely certain from that last sentence: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s all about people trying to attack me and I just wanted to play.'”

Smith argued that Watson’s refusal to take responsibility set the stage for continued misconduct.

“This energy is not conducive to future re-offending,” Smith told Cabot. “That means to me he’s still a danger to people because he’s definitely not done as much self-reflection as I can say. You don’t report that many violations from people who haven’t done anything wrong. . . . Something was wrong in those [massage] sessions. He did something inappropriate in those [massage] sessions. So he needs to figure out what that is and how to stop it so he doesn’t get hurt in the process.”

Part of the problem, in Smith’s view, is that Watson is blindly supporting his attorneys and lawyers, supporting his position that he did nothing wrong.

“It’s dangerous to have people around him who will support him going forward no matter what he decides,” Smith told Cabot. “It’s also dangerous for Deshaun Watson. He can change, but if someone around him says, ‘Yeah, she’s just chasing your money’ and ‘you paid that much and it still doesn’t make any difference’. He needs to get rid of those people because they didn’t serve him well.”

They didn’t serve him well from the start. Efforts to settle Ashley Solis’ claims were rejected, setting the stage for a lawsuit by her and 23 others. The Watson camp stubbornly maintains that claims that may be settled in April 2021 do not include nondisclosure clauses, leading to a missed opportunity to close the case fairly quickly. Along the way, attorney Rusty Hardin claimed that all of Watson’s accusers were lying.

No, Watson is not well served. He needs someone to tell him the truth. Hopefully this will be achieved through consultation. If he refuses to accept and listen to what he will hear, he shouldn’t be reinstated in Week 13 in Houston — or at any time, until he stops asserting his innocence and begins to embrace strategies to understand how these problems arise , and how

NFL senior advisor Rita Smith on Deshaun Watson: ‘I think he’s playing us’ originally appeared on Pro Football Talk



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