CLEVELAND (WJW) – Even though Deshaun Watson will bring immense talent to Cleveland, he will also be bringing lots of legal baggage along with him.
Watson still faces nearly two dozen lawsuits, accusing him of sexual misconduct or assault against women.
“Is that really the person we want as the face of the Browns? Speaking for myself and the majority of the women in my group, it’s not,” said Robyn Lockner, administrator for an online forum called the “Cleveland Browns Women’s Group.”
She says the vast majority of die-hard, all-female Browns fans in her group are against quarterback Deshaun Watson coming to Cleveland.
“I have 6,200 women in the group and probably 95 percent of them are against this move,” Lockner said.
Although Watson does not face any criminal charges, there are still 22 civil lawsuits from women, mostly massage therapists, who accuse the star athlete of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.
“Twenty-two women, they aren’t going to lie. Five women, they may lie, they may want a payoff. Twenty-two women are not going to lie. With a $230 million contract, the Cleveland Browns are paying his civil suits for him,” she said.
Lockner says Deshaun Watson is topic No. 1 in her forum right now. She says the women discuss issues related to the Browns every day, all year long.
“I have a number of women that are basically saying they can no longer support the Browns because of this. I try to tell them ‘you don’t have to support the person, but support the team.’ You know, you’re a Browns fan through and through,” she said.
Lockner also says she would like Watson to make some type of statement to Clevelanders about the allegations against him. Although, she admits anything he says would probably not change her mind.
“They say they want more women in football and they are expressing their gratitude for the women referees and the women coaches and coordinators and then the organization turns around and brings somebody in who has absolutely no respect for women at all?” said Lockner.
Lockner says despite her feelings, she will continue to attend games and root for her team.
“Do we want to win? Yes, but at what point do we draw the line? Where’s our integrity? Where’s our morals? Where’s our character?” she asked.
FOX 8 also reached out to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, but they told us they do not have a statement at this time.