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This is going to be controversial, but so be it: the big social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have a duty to punish star NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson for his sexual transgressions. This is the right thing to do, and the moral thing to do, but it is not going to be the easy thing to do.
The dilemma of what to do with Deshaun Watson
The social media platforms are facing a real dilemma these days when it comes to NFL star quarterback Deshaun Watson. On one hand, it seems like they should be doing something – anything – to punish Deshaun Watson for using their platforms in order to intimidate, harass and, in some cases, sexually abuse women. There are at least 22 different civil cases involved here, so this is more than just hearsay. On the other hand, Deshaun Watson has settled in all of these cases, has never been found guilty by the courts, and has never fully acknowledged his intent in any of the sexually-related encounters. So are social media platforms like Instagram really expected to mete out their own form of justice?
It’s even messier than that, however, because the NFL is involved, and so is the NFL Players Association. It’s not just the courts and the big social media platforms that don’t know what to do with him, it’s also the NFL, which is arguably the most powerful of any of the major sports leagues. Yes, the NFL gave Deshaun Watson a 11-game suspension, but all signs now are that he will play again in the league. The Cleveland Browns even traded for him, and gave away a lot of valuable draft picks to Houston to get him, so they obviously think that he has an NFL future.
Sure, there are talks that the NFL didn’t come down on Deshaun Watson hard enough with a year suspension, but nobody is talking about kicking him out of the league or banning him for life. In case you haven’t figured this out by now, Deshaun Watson is good at football. Fans like him. And everybody admits he could be a generational talent. So if nobody in Cleveland really complains about Watson playing football again, why should the NFL? And if the NFL isn’t going to take a hardline stance, then why should Instagram or Snapchat? America is the land of second chances, after all, so shouldn’t Deshaun get a chance at a clean slate in Cleveland?
Ban Deshaun Watson now
The answer, quite simply, is NO. If you read through all 22 of the civil cases against Deshaun Watson, the evidence is pretty sickening. In nearly every case, Deshaun acted like a typical sexual predator: he found an attractive woman, initiated a meeting under false pretenses, and forced himself sexually upon these women without their consent. And, in most of the cases, he didn’t seem particularly penitent. In one case, sure, he called the woman and apologized, but in most cases, he simply moved on to the next woman. This happened 22 times! And in each case, he was using social media to find and “recruit” these women for his sexual pleasure.
The best option is a lifetime ban for Deshaun Watson on any social media platform that was used to sexually harass these women. Hey, if Twitter or Facebook can casually hand out a lifetime ban to President Donald Trump, then Instagram and Snapchat can hand out a lifetime ban to Deshaun Watson. This is the only way they can prove that they have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment. Tired of sexual harassment? Yeah, #MeToo.