Crew fans protest Brown’s signing of Deshaun Watson
A group of Columbus Crew fans spoke out against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson during a game over the weekend at a demonstration at Lower.com Field.
In the 22nd minute of the Crew’s 1-0 loss to Nashville SC on Saturday, a group of fans held up 22 signs that read “We believe Jane Doe.”
The signs are a clear reference to Watson, who is facing civil lawsuits from 22 women accusing him of sexual assault, misconduct and more. The Haslam family, who own the Browns, also own the Columbus Crew.
Two Texas grand juries last month declined to seek criminal charges against Watson, paving the way for the Houston Texans to sell him to the Browns. Watson then signed a five-year, $230 million contract in Cleveland, the highest guaranteed sum in NFL history.
Watson still faces civil lawsuits and a possible suspension from the NFL.
Watson has been accused of, among other things, exposing himself to massage therapists, touching them with his penis and more. One of those massage therapists called the Browns and their fans directly late last month.
“Failure to charge or convict a crime does not equate to innocence,” Lauren Baxley wrote. “To pretend Watson, his fans and the Cleveland Browns is not only ignorant, it’s evil.”
Watson has denied the allegations against him, saying in his opening press conference that he has never “attacked” or “disrespected” women.
Dee and Jimmy Haslam also defended Watson.
“I think we felt comfortable going through the court process,” Dee said. “We have to trust the legal process. And as we learned more and more details about Deshaun as a person, we felt good about Deshaun as a person.”
Haslam Sports Group also said it spoke to Nordecke, who leads the crew’s fan group.
“We respect our fans’ ability to express themselves as long as they follow club policies and procedures,” the statement read on The Columbus Dispatch. “Last week we scheduled a meeting with the Nordecke Board and our investor-operator group to discuss this and other issues as we continue our intentions of building a constructive, positive and transparent relationship to bring our Crew players and – Support fans in the best possible way. “
Although Browns fans haven’t had a chance to protest as it’s only April, it’s clear fans of at least one of Haslam’s teams aren’t happy with the move.