CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – With a season-long suspension hanging over his head, Deshaun Watson issued his first apology related the numerous sexual misconduct claims made against him.
The team used their pregame show on News 5 to air a brief, but exclusive interview featuring team preseason television sideline reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala with Watson, who asked him about former federal judge Sue L. Robinson citing a lack of remorse by him in her ruling.
“Look, I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson told Kinkhabwala. “The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back, but I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character, and I am going to keep pushing forward.”
Moments after the interview aired, the Browns posted video of it on Twitter.
Watson hasn’t been made available to reporters since the June minicamp and the comments made to Kinkhabwala are the first made publicly by him since.
Watson was suspended by Robinson for six games and not allowed to seek massage therapy without the Browns involvement, but the NFL appealed the discipline handed down by her citing his alleged “egregious” and “predatory” behavior.
The league has been seeking a suspension of at least the entire 2022 season, a hefty fine and treatment for Watson in the wake of the lawsuits and allegations levied against him.
Former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey is handling the appeal. At best, Watson will miss the first six games of the season.
“I know I have a lot of work to put in, especially on the field to be able to make sure I’m ready to play whenever that time comes whenever I can step back on the field,” Watson said to Kinkhabwala. “But also, the biggest thing is I want to continue counseling and I want to make sure that I’m growing as a person, as an individual for my decision making on and off the field.”
Watson settled 23 of 25 lawsuits filed against him in Texas civil court alleging a variety of sexual misconduct after he used social media to solicit the female therapists. One suit was dropped after a judge ruled the plaintiffs were required to use their names in court filings and another case is still pending resolution.
Robinson ruled that she felt based on the evidence presented to her by the NFL that Watson “had a sexual purpose – not just a therapeutic purpose” for seeking out the therapists.
Up until the apology Friday night, Watson has denied any wrongdoing and maintained his innocence.