ESPN’s Molly Qerim is urging the NFL to show respect for women. And she wants them to do it by placing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
The Exempt List is a special player status available to NFL clubs only in unusual circumstances. The list includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit.
The NFL said last Wednesday that it was looking into the allegations of 14 women who have filed lawsuits claiming the former Clemson star sexually assaulted them. There are at least 10 more women who could file lawsuits in the future.
“Given the seriousness and quantity of these allegations, we are talking fourteen lawsuits and twenty-four total claims, and we are only ten days in,” Qerim said. “I personally, as a woman, would like to hear more from the NFL. ‘The matter is under review’ is just simply not enough.
“I understand, it is too early for findings. I understand there is a process, but based on the history, you need to show us that there is a real process taking place, a real investigation. Some transparency that you take these matters seriously.”
Qerim says the Watson lawsuits are an opportunity for the NFL to make up for some of the decisions it has made in the past when it comes to the messages it sends its female audience.
“We have discussed this before. Six years ago, the NFL brought in Lisa Friel and other women and created a committee. I mean, are these talking points or are these actual resources to address this behavior,” the ESPN personality said. “This happened after the NFL failed women with the Ray Rice situation.
“So, we have an opportunity here to be proactive rather than reactionary. That has been the knock on the NFL. You can get in front of it you can acknowledge it. You can condemn the behavior and address it.”
This is why Qerim wants Watson placed on the Commission’s Exempt List.
“If I am the NFL, I am putting Deshaun Watson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. I look at this way. He is getting protected. He is getting paid. He needs to lay low, and they need to deal with this,” she said. “And when, and if, his name is cleared, then he can return.
“But when I am saying twenty-four total claims against him. You can’t have this man on the football field right now. Address it. He can continue to get paid, and he can return when he clears his name. Again, an opportunity for the NFL to show that they respect women and protect women. Forty-seven percent of the NFL’s audience, that is nearly half, are women. So, we support you and we need to know that you support us.”
"[It's] an opportunity for the NFL to show that they respect women, they protect women."@MollyQerim urges the league to do more after a 14th lawsuit alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct was filed against Deshaun Watson.
— ESPN (@espn) March 23, 2021
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