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Browns QB Deshaun Watson denies sexual assault allegations

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CLEVELAND — Deshaun Watson maintained his innocence and strongly denied committing any sexual misconduct despite allegations made by 22 women against the Cleveland Browns’ new starting quarterback.

Wearing a dark pinstriped suit and orange tie at his introductory news conference on Friday, Watson showed little emotion while saying he’s done nothing illegal.

“I’ve never assaulted or disrespected or harassed a woman in my life,” Watson said, flanked at the dais by Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski. “That’s not how I was raised. I’ve never done these things people are alleging.”

Berry defended the team’s controversial decision to trade for Watson, who has been accused by two dozen massage therapists of various sexual activity during private sessions. He has always claimed any sex was consensual.

“We as an organization know that this transaction has been very difficult for many people, particularly women in our community,” Berry said. “We realize that it has triggered a range of emotions. And that, as well as the nature of the allegations, weighed heavily on all of us.

“It was because of the weight of the anticipated reaction and the nature of the allegations that really pushed us to do as much work as possible internally and externally in terms of understanding the cases and who Deshaun was as a person.

“We do have faith and confidence in Deshaun as a person.”

Watson dismissed needing counselling because he feels he’s been falsely accused.

“I don’t have a problem,” he said. “I don’t have an issue.”

While Watson hasn’t been indicted by two grand juries in Texas on criminal charges, he’s still facing civil lawsuits. He has no intention of settling the lawsuits and that his only goal “is to clear my name.”

Berry described the Browns’ investigation as “a five-month odyssey” that resulted in the team feeling comfortable enough with Watson as a person to trade for him — and in extension make him the face of their franchise.

The Browns lured Watson to Cleveland with a record-setting $230 million, fully guaranteed contract, which includes a $1 million base salary in the first season in the event he’s suspended by the NFL.

The league has an ongoing investigation into his behaviour and whether he violated the personal conduct policy.

Watson said the Browns’ contract had nothing to do with him waiving his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland.

The Browns traded three first-round draft picks and six picks overall to Houston for Watson.

On Thursday, a second grand jury in Texas decided not to indict Watson on one of the original criminal complaints of sexual misconduct. Watson being cleared by another grand jury had triggered his pursuit by the Browns and several other teams hoping to sign the three-time Pro Bowler.



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Women’s League Cup round-up: Birmingham City upset Brighton, West Ham held by London City Lionesses | Football News

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Birmingham City caused an upset in the Women’s League Cup by beating top-tier Brighton in the first round.

Libby Smith scored the opener before Jade Pennock then made it two shortly after the break.

Brighton pulled a goal back through Lee Geum-Min but Lucy Quinn extended Birmingham’s lead once again.

Danielle Carter added an 89th-minute penalty but it proved to be only a consultation as the Championship side picked up the three points.

Brynjarsdottir spares West Ham’s blushes

Meanwhile, West Ham picked up two points after beating London City Lionesses in a penalty shootout

West Ham had looked on course for defeat but a last-minute equaliser from Dagny Brynjarsdottir spared their blushes and salvaged a draw.

And after the 2-2 draw, the Hammers secured an additional point with a 10-9 penalty shootout win.

Wins for Spurs and Liverpool

In an all-WSL affair, Tottenham beat Reading 2-1 thanks to goals from Ashleigh Neville and Nikola Karczewska.

Elsewhere, Leicester beat Blackburn 3-0 and Liverpool secured a 1-0 win against Sunderland.

Durham and Sheffield United shared the spoils after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Durham picking up the additional point, winning the penalty shootout.

In Sunday’s other games, Lewes beat Charlton, Bristol City secured a 4-0 win at home to Crystal Palace and Coventry United defeated Southampton.





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Cardinals’ J.J. Watt plans to play just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm

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JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.

JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.
Image: Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt posted an alarming Tweet Sunday morning just hours before kickoff of the team’s game on the east coast against the Carolina Panthers. Watt stated that some news about him had been leaked and was going to be reported today. Immediately, most who caught this tweet were probably racking their brains and thinking, ok, what happened? From there, Watt went on to explain the following.

“I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday, and I’m playing today. That’s it.”

Wow! I don’t think anyone expected to hear that about Watt. Everyone is relieved that Watt is out of the hospital and seemingly “alright,” but the fact that he plans to play in this game today only four days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm is scary.

If the Cardinals won’t do it, someone from the league office or the NFLPA needs to step in and force him to sit this game out. After what we’ve seen in the past week, with Tua Tagovailoa suffering two concussions in less than five days, Watt needs to be held out of Arizona’s game today.

No, Watt didn’t sustain an injury to his head, but his heart was shocked so it would work properly. Even if Watt was cleared by his own independent doctor, precautions should be taken just in case. Yes, it’s football, we know that, and everybody is tough. You have to be tough to make it in the NFL, but these players also need protection from themselves regarding their health. It doesn’t matter if atrial fibrillation isn’t “considered” too serious. Take extra precautionary measures and be careful.

Last week, during coverage of the Tua incidents, multiple former NFL players were asked about head injuries along with others and if they’d ever lied to get back into a game. The answer was a resounding YES. Former Patriots and Chargers All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison went on Dan Patrick’s show and admitted to lying about head injuries and others. Harrison says he lied every time he had an injury to continue playing.

Rodney Harrison Discusses Tua’s Injury, Shares How Often He Lied About Injuries | 09/30/22

Patrick also told a story about Steelers legend Hines Ward grabbing his ankle after getting his “bell rung” because he didn’t want to come out of a game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the head or the heart. If it involves either, that player should be further evaluated and forced to sit out a game. We can’t continue to gamble with these guys’ lives.

If Watt ends up playing at 4:05 p.m., it could be the biggest story of the day on the heels of what happened with Tagovailoa over the last week. Left up to them, NFL players will choose to play virtually every time. The league doesn’t want bad PR, yet they continue to invite it at every turn.

The NFL is too concerned about trivial matters like players celebrating or not wearing the “correct” socks. The league fined Lions running back Jamaal Williams for a touchdown dance last week that may have been a little too provocative for their liking. A player can be put in harm’s way after clearly looking concussed and allowed to play a few days later, but heavens forbid a black player offends their audience by swiveling his hips after scoring, à la Ravishing Rick Rude. The NFL needs to be more concerned with the well-being of its players and protecting them as they claim.

Hopefully, someone steps in and talks some sense into Watt or takes the decision out of his hands.





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F1: Sergio Perez wins hectic Singapore Grand Prix as Max Verstappen misses first chance to seal title

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A heavy downpour 30 minutes before the scheduled start time led to an hour-long delay and the first wet start in Singapore since 2017 – when a first corner crash wiped out a Red Bull and two Ferraris, including title contender Sebastian Vettel.

There was no such flying debris at the start this time around but still drama aplenty as Perez leapt past pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton lost out to Carlos Sainz for third.

Verstappen, starting eighth, found himself bogged down off the line and had only recovered to ninth when a safety car was required on lap eight.

Nicholas Latifi, recently confirmed to not be staying in F1 next season, squeezed Guanyu Zhou, who is, into the wall at Turn 5 and both were forced to retire.

Verstappen was quickly up to seventh at the restart before Fernando Alonso, in his record-breaking 350th start, put up stout resistance for his next overtake.

Alas, the Spanish veteran’s Alpine could not match its driver’s longevity and his engine blew on lap 21. A string of virtual safety cars was then began with Alex Albon hitting the wall shortly after the green flag and Esteban Ocon’s engine popping once racing had resumed once more.

The prime time to swap to slick tyres began to dominate thinking as the second hour began on the two-hour limit, with 61 laps a far too ambitious total (perhaps even in the dry).

Hamilton, pushing Sainz for third, came in too hot at Turn 7 and headed straight into the barrier. Fortunately for the Brit, the damage was merely a broken front wing and he clambered out between the sparring Lando Norris and Verstappen.

Moments later, the trigger was pulled by the remaining cars (George Russell aside, who while struggling from a pit-lane start leapt for slicks far too early) and Hamilton was left in ninth place.

Yuki Tsunoda became the sixth retiree after sticking his AlphaTauri in the barrier fresh on Medium tyres, prompting a second full safety car and the fifth interruption to an already-delayed race.

Verstappen, who could have won the title in Singapore had a series of events gone drastically different, locked up lunging at Norris for fourth place and darted down the escape road. Having to pit, he was last for a brief moment before Russell suffered a puncture when giving Mick Schumacher a bump as he overtook the German.

Finally, with half an hour to go, a proper race for the lead broke out. Now on slicks, Leclerc dragged Perez into his crosshairs.

Singapore’s propensity for being a tough circuit to overtake at helped the Mexican survive an onslaught from the Ferrari but Leclerc began to make errors and Perez broke DRS to build out a comfortable lead.

Red Bull came into the weekend with some hope of crowning Verstappen as champion at the chequered flag but it instead heralded a second win of the season for Perez, with a lowly finish of seventh for the championship leader reducing his chances of getting the job done in Japan next week, too.



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