Steelers Fans React to Deshaun Watson’s Rumored Suspension Sentence

Getty Deshaun Watson is sacked by the Steelers' T.J. Watt.

The story of Deshaun Watson allegedly assaulting or harassing 24 women during his time with the Houston Texans has dominated headlines this 2022 NFL offseason, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans are watching the saga closely.

We remember a time all too well when a certain Steelers quarterback, by the name of Ben Roethlisberger, found himself in hot water after he was accused of sexual assault in 2008 and 2010.

Charges were never brought against Roethlisberger, and both cases were dismissed. Still, Roethlisberger was suspended for the first six games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. A week before the Steelers’ Sept. 12 opener, Commissioner Roger Goodell reduced the ban to four games.

Though Roethlisberger was not found guilty of any wrongdoing, the allegations are forever part of the now-retired quarterback’s reputation. Recollections of the 14- and 12-year-old accusations resurfaced when the Watson details were first made public in 2020 but are becoming more hotly debated as a ruling draws near.

ALL the latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Steelers!

Steelers Fans React

The parallels between Ben Roethlisberger and Deshaun Watson’s incidents start and stop with the nature of the accusations: sexual assault. The women who have come out so far against Watson total 24 (he reached settlements) with 20. Some fans believe that if Roethlisberger’s sentence was four games, Watson’s punishment should be more severe due to the number of allegations.

As Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal reported on June 25, the NFL is pushing for an indefinite ban that would “last no shorter than one year.” Watson’s team, of course, argued for a lesser penalty.

On July 15, the New York Times reported: “If (retired federal judge Sue) Robinson finds that Watson did not violate the league’s policy, his case will be closed. If she does discipline Watson, either side may appeal the extent of the penalty she hands down, and N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person he chooses would make the final ruling.”

Until a decision is made (which may or may not be before Browns training camp opens on July 27), only speculation on the sentence can be reported.

While the suspension could certainly be indefinite, ESPN Cleveland tweeted on July 12 that “reliable sources” tell Browns insider Tony Rizzo that it’ll be four to six games for Watson.

Given the sensitive subject matter of women’s rights, especially as of late, if Watson gets off with a light sentence, the NFL will hear about it.

This Post was deleted by the Post author. Learn more

One fan urges the NFL to “make it make sense,” citing Roethlisberger’s sentence.

Another fan did simple math to find “some justice” in the matter.

When Plaxico Burress was a member of the New York Giants, he accidentally shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan nightclub on a Saturday in 2008. The punishment came swiftly, as the NFL announced his four-game suspension the following Tuesday.

While there’s no debate that Watson’s fate is taking a long time to determine, the case isn’t as cut-and-dry as Burress’ was.

No argument with the fan who says, “Steelers fans are f—— obsessed with Deshaun Watson.”

For Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, the punishment certainly doesn’t fit the crime. Ridley was suspended in March for an entire season for betting on football.

What Does Deshaun Watson’s Potential Ban Means for Steelers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 (Sept. 22) and the regular-season finale in January 2023. If Deshaun Watson is suspended for only four to six games, Pittsburgh will likely have to defend veteran Jacoby Brissett. Though there are rumblings of Cleveland bringing in another veteran depending on the case’s outcome, the former Patriots/Colts/Dolphins quarterback is currently second behind Watson.

Should the NFL hand down an indefinite suspension, the Steelers won’t have to deal with Watson in the 2022 season.

The Steelers are 1-0 versus the Watson-era Houston Texans. The two teams last faced each other in Week 2 of 2020, and Pittsburgh had to claw its way to victory. Running back James Conner scored on a 12-yard run in the game’s final six minutes to give the Steelers the lead, 28-21. The defense held Houston off — including an 11-yard sack on Watson from T.J. Watt — to secure the win.