One Cleveland Browns tailgate went way too far by making a callous joke of the 24 allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Deshaun Watson.
While there are many, many Browns fans who still admonish Deshaun Watson for facing 24 lawsuits as a result of his sexual misconduct — even the NFL is currently punishing Watson for these allegations — there are a select few who don’t seem to have any problem with the accusations against Watson.
In fact, there was an entire tailgate of Cleveland fans who seemed to embrace Watson’s reputation, insisting that “happy endings are not illegal.”
To make matters worse, Watson’s face is photoshopped onto a meme in the background of someone who very likely would not appreciate the way in which his photo was used.
Since Wardy Joubert III passed away in 2016, his family has stated they are “embarrassed” by the way in which his likeness has turned into a popular meme.
“He seemed not thrilled with how it was being used then,” according to Heather Alegria, Joubert’s former girlfriend.
There’s a lot of offensive material to unpack in this particular photo, and Twitter wasn’t happy about how these Browns fans mocked the exploitation of massage therapists who reported sexual misconduct against Watson.
“Cancel this franchise right now,” wrote the original poster, a Baltimore Ravens fan who isn’t thrilled sharing a division with these Cleveland fans. Over 53,000 Twitter accounts agreed.
Browns fans mock sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson at deplorable tailgate
Before further misinformation spreads, it’s important to note that the original statement by Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin — “happy endings are not necessarily illegal” — hinges on the word necessarily. Hardin argued that because Watson did not pay massage therapists explicitly for sexual favors, it did not constitute as paying for sex, which is illegal in every U.S. state except for Nevada.
What the Browns tailgate says is not accurate: as the term is widely understood, happy endings are paid for, thereby making them illegal. After all, this is what New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was accused of in 2019, when he was caught on video paying for sex at a massage parlor in Florida.
Although there have been some Browns fans to argue in defense of Watson on the internet and those who have made light of the allegations he’s faced for the past year, this was one of the first times people displayed this level of callousness in person. One person at this tailgate is too many, and the fact that so many Browns fans were here celebrating — and associating Watson with franchise greats like Joe Thomas — demonstrates a complete lack of connection to the suffering Watson’s actions caused.