In sports, we're used to things changing quickly. The Warriors went from the most dominant dynasty in modern NBA history to the worst record in the NBA in a year. The Buccaneers were just another punchline in the NFL and overnight they became Super Bowl Champs. One morning the Astros were the latest model baseball organization and the next the most disgraced team in the league.
Things change and often very fast.
Even by those standards, the change in the Deshaun Watson narrative has been whiplash inducing.
Entering the offseason at 25, Watson had just completed his best statistical season at quarterback for a bad Texans team. He was one, if not the model NFL QB's in the league; the perfect combination of leadership, charisma and skill. But, out of nowhere Watson asked for a trade from a Texans franchise that had recently made a series of high profile gaffes.
Football media and fans treated Watson like he was the hostage of a hostile franchise, despite the fact he had signed. a four year, $156 million dollar extension with the very same franchise a year earlier. The narrative was the Texans were so bad, they owed it to Watson to trade him no matter the damage to the franchise.
Now, things have changed quickly for Watson.
Over the last few weeks Watson has been the subject of 19 lawsuits, each alleging a variety of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault allegations.
At first, the media responded to this story as if it was some sophisticated smear campaign by a Texans organization frustrated with their star's trade demand. Some believed the lawyer filing the lawsuits, Tony Buzbee, was a close friend and neighbor of the Texans owner who was complicit in aiding the organization in sullying Watson's previously impeccable reputation before trading him to the highest bidding NFL team. Then as the cases mounted and the allegations became more specific, many chose to flat out ignore the story.
Even now, many NFL media members are giving Watson an extremely generous benefit of the doubt that no other athlete has ever experienced.
In the latest allegation, a woman detailed her disturbing experience with Watson for Sports Illustrated. The story follows a pattern of many of the lawsuits where Watson booked a professional massage with a professional masseuse only to insists on being alone in a room with the masseuse before he either directly or indirectly made clear he had other intentions during the massage.
Many of these allegations happened recently, within the last year and while no criminal charges have been filed, there remains a distinct possibility that could happen.
What we are watching with Watson is a real time fall from grace not seen since Tiger Woods but with an air of criminality that didn't exist with Woods infidelity.
In an era where prominent athletes and entertainers lose jobs over tweets from their teenage years, if one or all of these allegations are proven true, Watson's time as a franchise quarterback will come to an abrupt end.
Thats not a story that anyone wants to see but it's a story thats happening right now in front of us.
Deshaun Watson's fall from grace could be the biggest sports story of the decade.
If only anyone wanted to actually talk about it.