Browns fans who are angered that their team traded for Deshaun Watson amid accusations of sexual assault from massage therapists are channeling that anger into supporting a worthy cause.
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center says it has had a large number of donations in the days since the Browns traded for Watson, with many donors specifically saying they’re angry that Watson is coming to town and looking to make a positive impact.
“We’ve had survivors say, ‘I’ve been a lifelong Browns fans, my family are Browns fans, but I’m also a survivor and I am absolutely outraged by the decision,’” Cleveland Rape Crisis Center director of community engagement Donisha Greene told Crain’s. “They’ve said, ‘I’m donating the cost of a season pass or here’s $22 for the 22 women whose voice is silenced.’ Browns fans feel torn. They feel like, if I can hang out and get down with you for years of losing seasons, this is the moment I have to take a stand. It’s a big deal.”
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network also reported a surge in online donations after the Watson trade news broke.
Greene said donations to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center have come not just locally but from around the country, and she said donations have been particularly strong from Buffalo, where Bills fans have often rallied around good causes relevant to the NFL world. Many NFL fans are appalled that Watson emerged from the last year getting everything he wanted in a new team and a new contract, and some of those fans want to counteract that by doing some good.