Tony Buzbee: NFL “doesn’t care” about sexual assault

·2 min read

Attorney Tony Buzbee brought 24 lawsuits against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, settling all but one of them. Buzbee is not happy that the NFL settled its disciplinary action against Watson.

“By settling this matter the way he has,” Buzbee said in a statement, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Roger Goodell has proven one of two things: either his recent rhetoric was utter baloney, or his bark is much worse than his bite. My belief is that he is nothing more than a paper tiger. The message today to all victims is clear, if you believe you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and go away. The NFL has certainly demonstrated that its ownership and the organization don’t care.

“To all sexual assault survivors, do not allow this recent ‘punishment’ to deter you. Keep speaking up and speaking out. Your voice matters. You are making a difference. We stand with you.”

The NFL agreed to suspend Watson 11 games, with a fine of $5 million. The league had the power under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy to impose a much higher suspension and/or fine. The league, however, either wanted it to be over or hoped to avoid a federal lawsuit challenging the punishment.

Even if the league would have won in court, the process itself would have delayed finality. It also could have resulted in the league dealing with the argument that it fails to properly investigate and/or punish owners who violate the Personal Conduct Policy. (And, in comparison to players, it definitely does.)

The league simply was ready to move on. Right or wrong, it was content to take 11 games and half of the money Watson made while not playing in 2021 to end this without any further fight, despite Judge Sue L. Robinson finding that Watson had committed non-violent sexual assault, and that he had engaged in “egregious” and “predatory” behavior.

Some will say the league should have dropped the hammer and cried, “Damn the torpedoes.” Indeed, the situation has already been lingering for more than 17 months. How much longer would it have taken to seek and obtain a win in federal court?

Tony Buzbee: NFL “doesn’t care” about sexual assault originally appeared on Pro Football Talk